Thursday, June 29, 2006

A Death In the Family

A well-loved blogger, Acidman - Robert Smith, has passed away. His funeral took place today, Thursday, June 29, 2006, at 4PM.

His second-to-last post contained a suicide note, a very explicit one that's since been removed. And he'd been leaving dark hints to that effect for some time.

On the other hand, his health was terrible. He'd recently survived a bad bout with peritonitis, for example, and that's hard to do. That'll kill many a healthy person, and as a prostate cancer survivor, recently recovering alcoholic, and much more, his overall health was not good. Reportedly, no guns, pills, or alcohol were found in the house when his body was discovered slumped over on the couch. At 2AM Monday morning, that was.

So for me, the jury's still out; he may have died from suicide, or natural causes.

As many others have noted, he's dead, either way.

I'm pretty much a non-participant observer in all this. The fights that went before were not my fights; and the loss here at hand is not my loss. I never knew the man, or he me; and, I'd think, neither of us much cared. Hell, my antique cat alone would've done nothing but send him running for one of his non-existent guns.

In this big pond called the blogosphere, ksquest is an insignificant and unknown tiny minnow. About the only thing notable, in the bigger picture, is what an impenetrable lameass I am about blogging itself. So I highly doubt my own post about this tall dog will matter much to anyone.

Still - just in case: I truly do wish no one any offense at the things I'm going to say here today. If you're among the many who clearly loved this man, please consider not reading on. I think I'm not an unfair person, but personal taste also comes into play, and at this time your feelings would be way tender. I am not always gentle and I don't wish to hurt any of you.

What does matter to me - like to lots of other bloggers and readers out there - are things like understanding and honesty. So I've been pondering how to understand and describe my own response to Acidman's passing.

You see, he was a person I neither liked, nor respected, nor admired.

Worse yet? His writing didn't even rile me up. I really don't think I'm without a sense of humor either. But he mostly left me indifferent. Even when I disagreed I never cared enough to join the fray.

Many people disagreed with him sometimes or often, including his most ardent fans. Some of the recent comments on his passing are from people who, like me, cannot say they respected certain things about him.

He hurt someone I care about. He hurt her terribly and needlessly. He was very hurtful to all his friends; his last rant, that second-to-last post, was against a friend of 30 years' standing, and it was nasty. Unlike his writing content, those actions did piss me off.

Unkindness is a trait that I deeply disrespect. He had it, in spades.

Like most alcoholics, he was a liar and a hypocrite. He combined this with soul-baring honesty, with exposes of his own faults. Maybe, too, with dishonest exaggerations of faults. Like many alcoholics, his seemed to find his own shortcomings unforgivable and his own self unlovable. Part of a pattern, there.

He was charming and sweet, and vicious and putrid. Mean as a snake. Intensely loving to his family. Capable of great kindness and generosity. He was too chicken to see a doc until he was almost dead from something like peritonitis, yet he shot stuff into his dick with a needle. That takes balls.

Unfortunately, to me, those extremes don't cancel each other out. All the sweetness he could give didn't erase the useless hurt he caused.

See, I dislike fighting, and stirring up shit, and all this drama bullshit. It's just not for me. Don't believe for one fucking minute I'm saying that out of naivete, either. Oh, you have NO idea.

Nothing new for me there, beyond some mild amusement. It's not just because I knew, years back, that someone who's proud of calling themselves an asshole isn't interesting to me. I simply have no use for reading more stories about that way of life.

That doesn't mean I forget, for even one minute, that someone else might.

One of his favorite rants was how people didn't take personal responsibility for their own actions. Over and over I read posts where it was very clear to me - and according to comments, many others - that he wasn't taking personal responsibility, himself. He would bitch about his shoulder pain but he wouldn't do the physical therapy that could fix it, and usually is a required prelude to the surgery he wanted. He didn't seem to get that it wasn't a quick fix.

Certainly I'm not the only person to call him a whiner. One of his favorite whines? Whining about how everyone else was always whining.

Whining, in and of itself, is a perfectly legitimate thing to do. IMAO. Hell, I do it all the time. It's not just human nature, it helps us blow off steam, work things out - in a greater context. Are you doing some therapeutic whining, on the way to solving the problem at hand? Good. Are you just whining to whine, cause you're bored, or to duck the fact that you're responsible for addressing your issue? Don't waste my time. Whine on your own dime, okay?

He had a good job with a big oil company for 23 years. Looks like he got there by virtue of having a degree in English - famous for NOT being of much use in the job market, to most jobseekers. He said he was fired for blogging. Actually, he was forced into early retirement, along with other employees. That's not splitting hairs. Anyone who's been really fired knows the difference.

He left that company with a wealth of stock options or such, and had no real financial worries any more. Well, except one. The IRS said he owed back taxes from cashing in some of that stuff. He'd decided not to use an accountant, and also decided to ditch the meetings the other early-retirement folks went to, where the company explained those complicated tax ramifications.

Despite his avowal that he Doesn't Do Math, he refused to attend. Out of spite. Or pride. But of course, it only hurt him. Which he interpreted as, Here I go again, the world's out to screw me and the IRS to steal my hard-won earnings...

One of his last posts was a query on whether he'd had *good luck* or *bad luck* in his life. He truly didn't seem to grasp how much had been handed to him on a silver platter. He loved the sayings that go to: *you make your own luck.* Did he really not see how very much of what *bad* luck he'd had was of his own making? And how much of what *good* luck he'd had was NOT of his own making?

Maybe he did know, deep down inside. He seemed to use knowledge like that to gnaw away at his own innards, feeding his self-hatred and self-destruction.

Instead, you see, of actually fixing those things, of changing the parts of himself he didn't like.

He was a mass of contradictions. Then he called others *a mass of contradictions* as if it were a worse sin than murder.

He hated women. Well, he said he loved them, too. He liked to call them cunts. I bet some woman, some time, probably explained to him that that's just about our least favorite word. In a fit of temporary insanity or imbecility or something, I'm sure.

The internet is full of its rants, its vitriol, its venting. These things are often called "honest," "intelligent," "courageous" when I don't think they really are. I don't believe bullying is brave, and much of the rants I read just look like bullying to me. I don't think cruelty is ever kind. I don't see any *value* in people being shocking just to be shocking. And with the internet full of all that, it sure doesn't look unique to me.

I don't think either - or any of the many? - political sides is much superior to any others; certainly I've seen none that merit their own claims of moral superiority. I don't think it's unique to rant about the government. Talk about a time-honored tradition! Especially when hundreds to thousands of fans jump to sing your praises every time you do.

So why did I ever go there?, you may ask.

Because of my friend. I read what he wrote not because of him, but because of her. I care very much about her, you see, and if I kept up with the news on that end, perhaps I could be a better shoulder for her, should she want a qualified one handy sometime.

I read sporadically, just keeping up with that one story line, skipping over most of what else he put in there. Because, you see, most of what he wrote bored me. And the personality that so many found unique and interesting? To me it looked like a stereotype. Predictable. And not particularly admirable or funny or informative. I mean, he was all right, sure. But great? I don't see it that way, myself.

From what I've seen in those comments, most of his readers would have trouble believing that. Readers on all sides, pro and con. It is, however, the truth.

However...heh! I zapped him on his *however* lecture, since he couldn't spell, mr. english major you. See, I did drop a few innocuous comments here and there; with one exception, he only ever answered obliquely. Good. Just as it should be.

Death, now, that's something I REALLY don't like. Never was much good at accepting it. I hate its finality, that sense of unfulfillment, of possibilities that now can never be achieved. Of love that can never be won, of reuniting that can never take place. I think of a treasured son, twisted away and unseen for too long; a much-loved daughter losing her dad way too soon; a grandmother left to live, left behind as her progeny dies.

I can tell myself eighteen million times how it's a part of life, of that natural cycle I truly do celebrate and understand, and STILL I hate death. I hate it in the young and in the old. I hate it when it eats the life of a person that's still only 54. Even when they hastened it along by their own acts.

I don't give a rat's ass what kind of person that was. Not a serial killer, or such of that nature? pretty much good enough for me, then. You got a right to keep trying to get it right.

Death, here, stole away any hope of reconciliation for that woman I care about. I didn't think there was a snowball's chance in hell, anyway, but now it is absolute. Not possible. Cannot be done. All hope is gone.

I don't like that. No, no. Not a bit.

For all that, I grieve.

His daughter Sam, Samantha, posted the notice of his death. And I'm reading, poring over the comments that start to flood in, trying to absorb all this sudden turn of events.

I see things. I watch something unfold that I've never seen before. That maybe has never happened before.

This blogosphere of ours - this family - pulled together and set aside so much of its very recent and very passionate anger and outrage and moral high-handedness so fast it spun my head around.

Like brothers and sisters and cousins and family friends and old lovers and neighbors and maybes and wannabes, all pouring in from all over, setting aside animosities big and small, petty grievances and murderous intent all shattered by the impact of sudden death, with the sudden generosity of spirit that unexpected great loss can bring.

I read the comment posts of at least two people who credited this man with saving their lives. One had even gone so far as to pick out the spot and timing of the deed. With Rob's tales of his own trainwreck life, those two would-be suicides took hope, and decided to live, to keep on facing another day. And made it through and out the other side.

At least two or three credited him with convincing them to overcome their own alcoholism.

At least two or three, with getting their prostate cancer successfully treated - and another, with finding out he didn't have it. But if he did have it? Without getting that test done, he'd be dead now, not even knowing what a PSA is. (Well. Maybe only fellow sickies like me can really appreciate that one. I, you see, am A Person Who Does Not Have Pemphigus.)

More? Many, many stories of how his travails with his exes gave other beleaguered soon-to-be-exes strength to keep on going, to stand up for themselves, to remember that one way or another at least it would be OVER, at some point.

Men commented often about how he blew them away with his openness talking about very personal subjects. The sorts of things that often are easy for women to talk about. Did that have some bearing, I wonder, on why he could hate us so? Did he hate that part of himself?

People who privately emailed him about their troubles got emails back, a hand stretched out to touch them through the ether.

Progeny? Someone should make up this man's blog family tree. He spawned his blog seed all OVER to hell and gone out there. Not just blogdaughters and blogsons are checking in here, folks, I'm seeing blognephews and blognieces and grands and at least a blogstep- or two. Probably he was his own grandfather twice or more.

A perfectly functioning and fecund Roscoe there, at least.

All over the internet, ladies are painting their toenails red.

All over the world, people are grieving. Many of them are stunned at their own selves. How - they ask - how come they can't stop crying over this person they never even met? A person that they - like me - so often disagreed with?

What a mass of contradictory commenters!

I read all the usual malarkey death brings out. All that goodthebadtheugly...the hypocritical...

I bet more prayers are being tossed around for this atheist than any heaven's seen for quite a while. Many are from people who say, *I never met him but I feel like I know him from his writing...* so I guess they must have missed that atheist part.

Well, truly, that doesn't bother me. As long as I can see it clear. That's why they say funerals are for the living.

Besides, some folks think that having lots and lots of people pray for you can make a difference. If that's true? and if Rob finds out? I feel like I know him from his writing well enough to say, *I bet that'd crack his cracker ass up...*

I read people snarking at each other, just a bit, for being honest about this guy, a person who at least looked to celebrate honesty and forthrightness. I read a most extraordinarily gracious post from, uh, jb I think? who may have been Acidman's A-#1 troll.

I read Bane's eulogy, Probably, as he himself honestly implied, the most honest one out there.

I discovered there's another lower-case k out there, one who was a frequent Acidman reader for years. Ha! And just why did I ever think I was the only k in the 'sphere anyway? But just in case anyone wondered, any comments about Acidman's death that k made to date anywhere but Livey's or Desert Cat's weren't me.

Not yet.

I learned that in the comments to his rant against his good friend Catfish, Acidman commented too. His last written words may well have been comparing Bane to Catfish About which, as Bane says, he isn't exactly sure how he feels.

I learned that Tessa seems to have the dubious honor of being the last woman he called *cunt.* She mentions that in the comments to Bane's *famous last words* post, too. Funny.

His family, it seems, is stunned at the outpouring of grief around the world.

I see here - me the blogdom lameass, this is all completely over my head - people pooling bandwidth to play his songs, CD's being burned and sent, sites being shored up to handle increased traffic or different types of it. His blog will be preserved. His writings will probably be published. I wouldn't be surprised if a professional CD is put together, too. He was a fine musician, by all accounts. I never heard his music, myself. I will, soon, I think.

Most amazing of all? His closest associates have also put together a blogosphere memorial, for all those worldwide who couldn't come to the services in person. This is running for hours, just as the world spins, with ways to post and link and all. I'll probably learn today, as I continue to read on, whether anything like this has ever been done before.

I have a sense - me, this non-participant observer - of a minute participation in a historical first, a new event. It's interesting. I find that I want him to be in a Heaven so he can watch all this, in his *ceaseless quest for adoration from people who don't know me.*

An astounding outpouring of love for this man who called himself Acidman, who felt he was unlovable. Who saved at least two lives and gave strength and caring and peace to many, many more.

That, I can respect. No, it's still not my loss. But so what? I can see that despite all the damage he caused, he still did an extraordinary amount of good.

This is a loss worth grieving. A loss, indeed.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Babycat says, Walter has The BEST smelly shoes!

he's back, he's back he's back. mmmrrrrrooowwwwwww!!!!!!!

Why do cats love stinky shoes so much?

Walter took his sneakers off. He grinned. *He's gonna LOVE these,* he said.

Apparently he'd been wearing them, unaired, for quite some time. Just for his boy!

Because Babycat - who really didn't feel well at the time - buried his head inside each shoe, back and forth, floating on a cloud of...ecstasy.

When he was a younger cat, he'd push those shoes all over the floor, trying to bury his head deeper and deeper inside. In the morning we'd have to hunt for a half-hour just to find both shoes.

Or, he'd get so zonked from his olfactory thrills, he'd pass out with his head still pushed inside a shoe. Purring himself to sleep, eyes all squinted shut in happiness, cradling that smelly sneaker between his paws. Holding on for dear life.

You best not even THINK of trying to pull it away from him.

A 22 Year Old Cat is a Very Old Man

In *human* years, my cat is around 115 or so. Next month he turns 22 years old.

His mother lived to 19 1/2. So he's already outlived her by a good 10-15 human years.

I asked my vet, What's the oldest cat you've ever treated? --26 years old. But that was a truly exceptional animal. I've been in practice since 1979. All that time, I've treated maybe a handful of cats that were in the 21 - 22 year old range. That's it. He's a very unusually old cat.

I knew he's old. But until this week, I had no idea how rare that is.

My wonderful, sweet, smart, devoted old boy is nearing the end of his years.

Tuesday night he came down with a kidney infection and scared me half to death, peeing blood. I trust no vet but his own, so I asked Babycat to hold on until morning, until we could see the cat doc. Cats is all that doc does, and he is a wonder.

I knew Babycat had lost a lost of weight recently. An old cat will do that when they're getting near the end. But I didn't realize he'd gone from 12 pounds to around 6 1/2.


The vet shot him full of Baytril antibiotic, gave me Baytril pills, took blood, and trimmed his back toenails. (Old folks get grooming issues, okay?)

Doc says cats are pretty generally in kidney failure at around age 15. And Babycat's had those issues for quite a while. Now, however, it's much more serious. His kidney bloodwork is pretty bad.

Doc says, all hope is NOT lost. We'll try him on a renal diet, see if he buys it. That can keep him going much longer.

First of all we have to clear the kidney infection. Now, Friday morning, he's doing much better. The blood has almost disappeared. And wonderfully - he's eating like a horse. All of a sudden.

How long does he have? Don't know. Doc says, Maybe a week. Maybe a month. Maybe six months. Impossible to say.

I asked him for this favor: --If the time comes he's suffering too much, and I don't want to let him go, would you please tell me it's time? He said: --We're not there yet, not at all. --But when we are? My mistake won't be in giving up too soon. It'll be in holding on too long. So if you catch me doing that, will you let me know?

He said he would.

My job now is just to keep that cat as happy and as healthy as I can. To make whatever comes as easy as I can for him.

Do I love that animal beyond reason?


It's also true that beyond any doubt, I owe my life to him. There was a time, years back, when I'd lost everything. Everything, including hope for the future. I was very sick, and I was so tired of fighting, fighting for my life to go on. All I had to do was give up fighting and it would be over, I could stop, I could rest, I could go.

We all need to be needed. No one still alive needed me.


My two little cats did.

Inconsequential? Laughable?

Maybe to some.

But me?

I'm still alive. I have a man I love who loves me back, a good man, and a house and a car and enough food to eat. A computer, a blog, a digital camera. A very full life, in its way. Limited, certainly. But even within the severe constraints of my disabilities, I have more of a life than many healthy and *prosperous* people do.

So when I tell this cat, --I am here for you. Tell me what you want and you'll have it.--

I have reason to say, He earned it. I have his great devotion. He has mine.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Heading Home

Yes! Walter got a load straight to Miami. It delivers on the 22nd. So he's hauling ass home.

oh, my goodness yes.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Identify the Gorgeous Weird Pineapple-y Bromeliad-y Rescue Plant

One of the joys of the ksquest plant rescue department is acquiring Mystery Plants. This is one.

I have four of these, total. As you can see, they took a beating before I got them. This sort of plant is usually a *stock* plant, a parent, from which I can grow babies that have cute undamaged leaves and such. This parent is quite healthy, as is; it's just not as *presentable* for most people's purposes. That's why they're rescue plants.

Peter and I discussed What It Is. He thought pineapple relative - something bromeliad. I thought, Maybe. But then it sent out pups on runners just like the blue agaves were doing, and the leaf shape and thorns...I put a tentative foot in the agave camp.

Peter, my hat's off to you. (My bun?) As far as *I* know, nothing but a bromeliad will make a flower like this. Especially the way the surrounding leaves colored up that florescent pink/orange first. And while I'm no botanist, I do know that the flower is the chief clue when identifying a plant.

Course...I still don't know what the heck it actually IS.

But at least now, I know where to start looking.

And boy oh BOY, am I glad I suffered through their vicious thorns, and hauled these babies on home. Posted by Picasa

Crack Spackle - Sure Cure For Plumber's Butt

NOT that any of OUR dads would ever encounter such a problem.

More Funny Cats! Can't Beat That! Oh, No No No...

Desert Cat has the funniest cat video I've ever seen: Talking Cats.

I've been amusing myself with it so much I just had to swipe it.

Then I saw this great link on pepektheassassin:

Yes indeed! It's all about Hitler Cats.

Who would have guessed? I would never have thought, growing up, that one day I'd be sitting here with a little computer on my lap, looking at a site on the internet devoted to showing pictures of cats that look like Hitler.

Just in case I missed anything VITALLY important, I hit Darlugo's search function. YES! Another funny cat clip: In light of Livey's bear problems, perhaps she should show that one to the little prince.

Want a little more? This one's celled Selfish Cat. I'd argue that. Selfish? We're talking:
1. FOOD; and,
2. a DAWG!!!

Nicely tying it all together, we have a funny cat video of a funny cat watching a video of funny cats.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

There You Are, Minding Your Own Business, and...

Jun 16, 9:43 PM EDT

Car goes through roof, kills man in bed

MILTON, Fla. (AP) -- A man watching a basketball game on TV in his bedroom was killed when a car crashed through the roof of his home, authorities said.

William Christopher Villar, 22, was trapped under the car for three hours until a crane was able to lift it off him, Milton Police Sgt. Jimmy Barnes told the Pensacola News Journal for Saturday's editions.

Authorities said they received a call Thursday night about a possible drunk driver. An officer tried to stop driver Beverly Grimditch, 50, of Navarre, but she took off, Barnes said.

Grimditch's car hit the curb, went over a fence and cartwheeled on the roof of the home Villar shared with his parents and two brothers, Barnes said. It was unknown what speed she was driving.

Police were investigating the incident. Grimditch has not been charged.

"I've been working crashes 24 years, and this is the most bizarre I've ever seen," said Barnes, a longtime friend of the Villar family. "This is a very sad situation, and it goes to the bottom of my heart."
Information from: Pensacola News Journal,
© 2006 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Learn more about our Privacy Policy.

The Claw Cometh

I don't know what the dog is for. Maybe he just sits there and watches. You know. A supervisor dog.

I can say, the funny looking levers are what the operator uses to control the Claw.

Posted by Picasa

Posted by Picasa

Bye bye, Claw Guy! Thank you!

Posted by Picasa
And now? Nothing left but a greasy spot in the road.


i feel better

whatever was out of whack inside me has shifted back into place. i feel steady again.

walter is still coming home, which is good. but the pressure's off - best if he can work it into his driving assignments with careful deliberation. when your home is south florida, it's a lot harder for a long haul trucker to get home for a visit. i mean, ny, atlanta, chicago, st. louis - he's always getting routed past those towns. but miami is kind of, The End.

that's okay. be great to see him, but i'm fine now.


that was about the worst i ever get, as a patient.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Ding Dong, the Witch Is Dead!

You just can't imagine how thoroughly tired I was of looking at this thing here. And working around it. And bailing it out when it stank. Posted by Picasa

For ten years, I've been the reluctant owner of a hot tub.

The right hot tub would have made me a happy owner.

Not this one.

Its most recent foibles went like this:

Here comes Hurricane Wilma. Hot tub shoots up in the air, spins around, lands upside down, flips back up, spins around again, and lands right side up. It left a trail of greasy hot tub innards spewed all over the yard.

Now, the good news went like this:

We were without running water for about three days. Normally, stocking up on non-potable water is one prep I don't forget. This time, I did. The only time yet that the water went off.

But when that hot tub landed right side up? It got enough hurricane rain to provide us with water for a different pot. The commode.


With its last dying breaths, the cursed thing kept us flushing till the water supply worked again.

Fast forward...FEMA, insurance adjuster, safety issue things paid for with proceeds, not enough to get the tub to the street...mortgagee holds next check, claiming federal gov't (HUD) regulations declare that *moratorium* means *delinquency* so they want to parse my spending decisions...more discussions with said companies...

And here it is, next hurricane season, and we're finally ready to go.

Friday is bulk day.

Ah yes. The day so many of us joyously run to our swales to dump vast loads of big icky stuff we don't want, awaiting the monthly return of The Claw. Which Claw chomps on said piles and spits them out into big trucks, and off to Mt. Trashmore they go, never to disturb our serenity again.

Enter Danny.

Danny lived across the street from us when we bought this house. At the time he was 8 years old and came up to my nose.

He was a wonderful neighbor. He's quite smart, and at the age of 8, knew everyone and everything that mattered here. I said before, and still do, that he has the makings of a great politician.

He helped me out in our yard quite a bit back then, too - the place was a jungle, a real mess.

One thing we did together was to stump 25 aralia trees. The very last stump was totally pesky, with 18 million roots all tangled up in a sprinkler system, in a foot-wide space between a concrete path and a chain-link fence.

We hacked and dug and pushed and pulled and cut more roots and dug some more. Finally - I use my legs a lot for stuff like this, better muscles - finally I lay on my back, bent my legs, knees apart, put my feet on that stump and pushed and pushed and pushed. I could feel it moving. I poured sweat. I could feel my face getting red.

Danny said, --You look like a lady having a baby.

Which was stunningly accurate.

I lost it. I'm literally rotflol, giggling and spitting root sawdust and losing my foot-grip on said stump, wondering how much Discovery Channel this 8 year old kid's been watching, and generally giving in to so much upheaval that I gave that effing stump one final puuuuusssshhhhhh and CRACK! out it comes, up from the dirt.

Still choking with laughter. I said, --IT'S OUT! THE BABY'S BORN! and damned if that thing didn't have all these roots sticking out looking like penises. So I said, --LOOK! IT'S A BOY!

That was the most fun I ever had stumping a tree in my entire life.

By the time Danny was 13, he looked about 18. 5' 10" or so, hulking and strong. My nephew met him. After that, he'd ask about Danny from time to time like this: --Hey. How's the big giant kid?

Danny was a gifted big rig driver by the time he was maybe 15. Not that we would have ever dreamed of allowing such an uninsurable driver to drive one of our trucks, of course. Not even to park it down the lot. No.

And he learned side-by-side working with Walter, sometimes on long multi-state delivery runs, how to deliver fine furniture. He ran into most of the odd situations that happen - from getting your truck almost stuck under a low-clearance bridge in New York, to weird or nasty customers, to delivering armoires up narrow turning staircases with only two people and a piece of furniture that outweighs them, DOT inspectors, oh you name it. He learned about moving big stuff using brainpower instead of brute force. And boy, was he good. Even tempered, good with customers, just plain pleasant to work with, on top of everything else.

After Wilma blew the trees down on the house, it was Danny & co. who got them off the roof and let us use the front door safely again. This may not sound like much, but folks, it was a lot of work, days and days with multiple people. He and Walter hoisted our 25' queen palm back up so we wouldn't have to kill her. Danny spent days of his time helping everyone who needed gas for their generators, ice, food, whatever. He never wanted to get paid for these things, see, it was just fun to him. But work is work and ought to be paid for, so we worked all that out.

And now, he's newly graduated from high school - was a star football player, got recruited for high school no less. In a couple weeks he starts training as a firefighter, to work his way up to paramedic and such as he goes to college too.

So. That hot tub has had Danny's name on it for a long time. I didn't want him taking it to the street for bulk day until I knew we could pay him for it and for the hurricane work. It's a good 400-500 pounds, and has the awful bulky character of a mattress when you want to move it. It can be moved or it can be balanced - it just won't do both at once, see? So you really need people who are strong and smart and experienced to handle a beast like that. Especially through the narrow spaces and turns and such it had to go through.

By my estimate, I wanted 4 guys on that thing. I used to tell Danny, --When the time comes, bring the football team.

I got a call from Walter today saying Danny may come by. Just as our call was ending I said, --Gotta go, someone's at the front door.


Boy oh boy!

But mixed up with my glee I was a little...hesitant. Only one other guy was with him.

Now, the other guy wasn't quite as tall as Danny, who's around 6'2" or so now. But he had that same look about him. Ya know. Like a refrigerator.

So Danny said, well, we'll see. And back to the hot tub we went.

They dumped out a little rainwater. They went over the merits of dollies, hand trucks, slides. Since Danny knows this stuff I left it up to him.

He decided to use a moving blanket to pull it, setting the hot tub on its side, pulling on the blanket while balancing the tub upright. They maneuvered it around on the back patio, getting the feel of it. Slid it across and past the back of the house.

By then I finally had the camera out. These guys were going so fast I missed my first shots. Okay. Sometimes I get them blurry, but how often do I gripe about being too slow to catch the action?

When they came up the west side of the house, moving toward the street, they decided they didn't need the blanket any more. They just dragged it along on its side, pushme pullyou.

I was trying to stay out of the way and not distract them. At one point, though, he must have heard me gasp at a quick recovery he made as it tipped. He said quietly, with a little grin, --I'm a little stronger now.

Holy smokes, yes. All that time I knew him as he worked with us, he was still a growing kid. I'd forgotten.

And soon they were at the carport. Right where - *gasp!* - Danny's muscle car is parked!

And he didn't have his keys to move it out of the way!

Now I'm absolutely not a car fan, but this is a special car. If that hot tub hurt that car I would blow it up with dynamite. I know it's his car and his decision, but ooohhhhh!!! the suspense was awful!

But they made it just fine.

Over the brick driveway and out to the street.

And this whole thing took maybe 20 minutes.

I was floored.

And happy? Oh, you have no idea.

What a shot in the arm, and what a day I needed it.

Our Part is Done. The Claw Will Come.

Yup. Doesn't it have this air of expectancy about it? Like it KNOWS its destiny and awaits it, not just patiently, but gladly.

Icky inside!

And just LOOK at all that lovely space I have now! Posted by Picasa

These guys went so fast I didn't have my cameral ready until they'd gotten it past the back yard and were pulling it up the western side.

I guess that's what happens when you're built like a refrigerator.

Comin' Around the Bend

Getting something like this around a tight corner is far more difficult than it appears. They also had to avoid a plumbing fixture on the side of the house right there.

waaaaaahhhhhh!!!!!! it tipped! it's gonna kill the only piece of board fence that didn't come down in the hurricane!

Naw. Had it back upright in a jiffy, no harm done. Danny was always big and strong. So much so, I tend to forget that these days, he's even bigger and stronger than when he and his dad worked for us. Posted by Picasa

The space is narrower now. Add this: Danny is storing a muscle car in our carport until they can get a tree on their property relocated - they ran out of room to park cars. But - he forgot to bring his keys! So he can't move it out of the way. If the hot tub tips and hits the car I will CRY.

Past the Muscle Car

This is the part where I was holding my breath. NOT that I wanted the guys to notice.

Danny wisely puts himself between the hot tub and the car Posted by Picasa

Excuse please - I'm not a car person. It's something called an I-ROC.

Past the Pump

One thing we always harped on: Before you start to move anything, THINK. Plan. Study it up first.

See, the pump on the right - and the big faucet assembly on the left - make it difficult to maneuver by this section. Posted by Picasa

Down the Drive and Onto the Swale

Scratch the bricks? Sure, that's what they're there for. To be used.

One last heave...

And it's DONE! QUICK! PULL OUT THE CELL PHONE! heh heh heh! modern life, huh?Posted by Picasa

So there it is, in all its glory. Waiting for the Claw, waiting for its destiny.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Walter Fix

Tuesday morning, my fab ID doctor had a turn with Poor Mr. Hand. Her assignment? Check him out for the first flurry of infection possibilities.

Those would be things like your normal post-op nasties, plus MRSA. Fast- to very very fast-acting germs.

If you saw the earlier pix with the ace bandage over the plaster and cotton and gauze, here you can see how I'd made it not near as pretty. When it swelled up bad on Saturday, the surgeon - who NEVER has any other doctor field his calls, even though his service pinged him at 9:00 Saturday night at a restaurant - told me how to loosen it. Of course, HIS wrapping job was a bit more expert than mine.

When they first cut off the bandaging and you actually see it? This is where you (the patient) think, Oh how HIDEOUS!, while the doc is saying, Oh, it looks BEAUTIFUL!

So Dr. C (ID doc) was highly pleased. No sign of infection, the swelling was better, and her preliminary lab results were all clear on the germ front.

The other important germ test is for the mycobacteria. That's the one that takes forever to culture, and half the time it still won't grow in the lab. Myco may be one, even the chief, of the triggers that got this tenosynovitis going in the first place. The surgeon took loads of samples for Dr. C.

I have a very sensible fear of MRSA - especially the CAM kind I now carry forever. I must not let it blind me to this: the mycobacteria, in its way, is just as bad.

Dr. C put a temporary re-wrap on it, to hold me until that afternoon, and made sure I got all the pix I wanted too. This doc is priceless.

So. Tuesday afternoon I was supposed to see the great shoulder doc. My shoulder impingement syndrome only flares up intermittently - but as luck would have it, the right shoulder is acting up, and bad. Since I need to walk around holding my right hand up higher than my heart - ELEVATE ELEVATE ELEVATE! - this is a problem. Outside of how foolish I look, of course.

I'm not sure what the shoulder doc can do to help. What I think I want is a cortisone shot in that shoulder, and a prescription for a special sling that would hold the hand up for me - higher than my heart. This is definitely not a standard type sling. But I'll bet big bucks that if it's even remotely doable, the Ft. Lauderdale Hand Clinic can do one.

Unfortunately...since the surgery - since before, actually - I've been uncharacteristically discombobulated about all this. Emotionally, a bit unstable. So I screw things up. And I mixed up the schedule: the hand surgeon appointment Thursday was 3:15, the shoulder surgeon was Tuesday, 1:30.

I blew it. Got to the shoulder guy at 3:15, right on time. The wrong time. And his schedule was too backed up to fit me in.

Luckily, at least the hand surgeon happened to walk in the door. That was good because he had a quick look and a serious re-wrap, which it needed after that morning's unveiling. Now I don't need to see him on Thursday, and since it wasn't an appointment, that saved me a $30 copay.

heh heh heh!

Understand, money's tight. The hospital copay apparently went up. I thought $100 - they said, nope, $250. The day before the operation no less.

And I've been dripping $30 specialist copays all over town. This week alone, 4 of 'em. Well, 3, now. That's an unbudgeted $340. No - more, like $385, with all the pre-op appointments.

We rescheduled the shoulder doc for 12:00 Thursday.

Something about that, together with the slowly dawning realization that the nerve impairment in my right hand is going to be much worse than I'd anticipated, plus that odd pre-surgical trepidation...I realized today that I was definitely out of sorts about all this.

Clinical depression wears an old and familiar face. I know what to do with it - the steps to take, the meds, the ways to think it through. I'm so adamant with friends and web buddies about getting their depression treated because I know what a difference it made in my life.

If it were *just* that? No problem.

But I've been doing that discombobulated flip-floppy thing instead. I say, Oh I'm fine with it - and it's true at the time - and then one hour later I'm not okay. That's not normal for me. And I can't take care of it as well as I can with things like depression and pain and all.

So I took myself in hand and asked Walter to come home for few days. He can be here next week.

He doesn't take much time off. And I feel a little bad because he misses my parents and was going to see them in Chicago next. He was just here!

But I can see I need his help. At least I'm not that far gone - I can still tell.

In many ways Walter's an unsociable person. But a wonderful person too. And I noticed long ago that a surprising (to him) number of people *need* to talk to him from time to time. Then, when they do, they are happy again. This always puzzles him. I explain: --It's simple. They need their Walter fix.-- If you knew him, you might grin, but you'd understand.

It's time for k now. I need a Walter fix.

I know it's true, because I don't even care that he and my parents and everyone who reads this now knows I am being - yes I am - a wimp.

Hey. Can't be a rock ALL the time, huh?


Posted by Picasa

 Posted by Picasa