High Card Again

I had my three-month Multiple Myeloma cancer check recently.  I had a blood draw for lab work a few days prior.

Quake 2005

Emma

I once watched Emma, a high school girl, sink twenty or more baskets in a row.  She warmed up by sinking ten hoops, missed one and started over, sinking one-handed shots one after another until I lost count.  She seemed unstoppable.  Each time the three-month mark approaches on my cancer watch cycle, I wonder again – how many consecutive times can I “swish” with favorable test results?  How many times can I draw the high card without fail?  I can do it for the rest of my life!

Walking out the door after church recently, a young lady ahead of me turned around and smiled.  I said, “I know you, but don’t remember how.”  She answered, “I treated you.”  I’ve had a few treatments, so I asked her politely, trying not to sound like a smart-ass, “Where did you treat me?” “At St Vincent’s.”  “Yes!” I said.  “Radiation Therapy!  I remember you!  Thank you.” It was so good to see her again, especially there at Athey Creek Christian Fellowship.

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The retirement gift from my wife.  It makes working under a car a pleasure.

I retired, but I’m still anticipating the rumored leisure of retirement.  In a stroke of good timing(?), just as I retired it became necessary for my mother-in-law to move to an assisted living facility.  I was able to help relocate her, and help move (still moving) most of her things out of her house, paint and prepare (still preparing) her house to sell, and more.

I have enjoyed a few retirement victories.  For example, my picture files are well on the way to being more organized than ever.  Also, it’s late morning on a week day and here I sit enjoying more writing practice.  And, when I finish getting dressed, I will go out and walk under that Chevy and finally replace the “Roulette Wheel” fuel pump (Roulette because if it stops on just the right spot, it leaks).

Since I had the labs done in advance, I was able to see my cancer test results online just before seeing the doctor.  There are many categories in the tests results and they continue to be reported in Medical Greek, but I saw no spikes or nose-dives in the numbers.  The doctor confirmed my suspicions that the test results were good.  I have nearly three months before I cut the deck again.  I remain thankful to God for a life overflowing with blessings.

 

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Back To Undetectable

Friday, September 7th was my last day on the job.  The Wednesday evening prior, I got a haircut, the first in about two years.  I was ready for a change.

Scott's PonytailI told the barber I wanted to keep the ponytail.  I brought it home and glued it into my work hat.  The co-worker sitting nearest me the next morning at the daily briefing looked suspiciously at my hair below the hat line.  He made scissors with his fingers and ran them near his ear (our local sign language for you got haircut?).  I turned my head.  He shrugged and returned his attention to the meeting when he saw the ponytail.  PW Retire_3701Our crew leader was telling us we could expect some real changes around here in the very near future.  I stood up and announced to all that I was ready for a change right now!  I pulled off my hat (with ponytail attached) and  I thought those guys were going to fall out of their chairs.  The faces before me expressed TOTAL SHOCK!  Jaws dropped to release hoots and gasps!  That was fun!

My retirement barbeque at PW, last day on the job

Clarification: Okay, it was a load, and it was in a dump truck.

The next day, my last on the job, I enjoyed a great barbecue lunch with soon to be former co-workers.  Along with cards and gifts, handshakes, hugs, and well wishes, I was presented a unique lamp made mostly from a water meter and meter box lid.  I also received a dump truck load of my favorite drink – Mt Dew.

The following evening, my wife, Diane said we were going out for pizza.  It turned out to be a surprise retirement party with family and friends.  The best surprise was my son and granddaughter flying here and attending both parties.  I enjoyed seeing everyone, and I sincerely appreciated all the cards and gifts, handshakes, hugs, and well wishes.

It occurred to me that the act of retiring is a bit like the act of getting married.  You can get married quietly at a courthouse, go home and say, “Okay, we’re married;” or, you can have an unforgettable celebration of a lifetime with family and friends.  When you retire, you can go home after your last day on the job and say, “I’m officially retired now,” or you can celebrate with family and friends and make it a meaningful occasion.

IMG_20180916_0001The second-best surprise at the pizza party was Diane’s gift: a lift.  Not a ride home – a car hoist.  I, a humble back yard mechanic, will be able to stand upright under a car to work on it (or just to enjoy the view).  Years ago, I came very close to buying a lift.  It would have cleaned out my hobby account, but I would have recovered.  Before I ordered it, I was diagnosed with cancer.  Someone asked me, “Do you want to leave that nice of a gift for Diane’s next husband?”

I saw my Radiation Oncology doctor today (Sept 18th).  The Aid who came out to escort me to the exam room looked confused when she approached.  She said she almost didn’t recognize me, “You shaved your beard…..  Wasn’t your hair longer?  Did you get younger?”  I had blood drawn and tested in advance; the doctor pronounced me (my PSA) “Back to undetectable.” Back to my favorite diagnosis.  He said to test again in six months.  Smiling, he affirmed reports of a most memorable radiation patient in Wonder Woman underwear.

Must Take Next Exit

It was wonderful to have our son, Robin, and his family visit us in July.  In August, we drove across the country and had a real nice visit with our son, Brandon, and his family.  There we met and held our newest grandson, Desmond.

On our round trip – road trip, we encountered many (many!) road construction zones, each introducing themselves with bright signage:

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Every year at this time, my job duties include Large Water Meter Testing with the professional we always hire, Meter Dave with Oregon Meter Repair.  If large meters are not measuring accurately, they give away a lot of free water (they give away money).

I always look forward to working with Dave, but each time I put the meter testing schedule on the calendar, I see warning signs right there on the bottom left corner of August.  Signs cautioning me that summer is circling the drain and change is as close as flipping that time-table page.

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This year I found new signs on the highway of life.

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We’ve worked our last ten-hour work day (on our summer schedule).  Monday we’re off work for Labor Day.  I will work four more eight-hour days, take the Retirement Exit and end my working career.

Some ask if I’m excited.  Apprehensive might be a better word.

Some warn me not to sit around and get bored.  There’s no chance of that.

Some might be concerned that I could become depressed.  If I haven’t encountered depression through three cancers (does a re-occurrence count as a fourth?) it probably won’t happen with retirement.

For years, I felt there was some kind of competition between Multiple Myeloma and Prostate Cancer (and a minor skin cancer), to bring about my demise.  It felt like a race towards retirement.  Retirement not being the finish line, but more like a reward for making it that far.

Gonzaga Walking Tour

Me and a goat – taking the exit

I was tempted to work a little longer, maybe a year.  I can walk to work, a monthly paycheck and insurance is nice, and I’m good at what I do.  But, I’ve reached my normal retirement age, there is no reason not to retire, and with Prostate cancer making a come-back, I’m choosing to take this exit.

 

Wadja Say?

My grandson, Jory, along with his family visited us in July.  He seems quite intelligent for a two year old who will easily break into song about some guy named Bubbah…..  Bubbah Black sheep.

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Pondering the intricacies of his holstered Light Saber

WARNING: Parent / Grandparent Disclaimer: Every parent and every grandparent thinks their baby or grand-baby is the cutest, the most intelligent and most talented baby ever.

At first you might dismiss Jory as a baby talker because he has a little trouble getting his words out.  It’s like he’s communicating through a poorly programmed language translation app.

But when he has something to say, if you stick with him he will repeat his message over and over, determined to make you understand.  He knows the words he’s trying to enunciate, and he usually composes complete sentences.

One day he announced something like “Blabbagobbywaddahoobanichamuggabee-beewaaba!” I repeated in a questioning tone what I just heard and he said, “No – Ga pabbadu vue uh-duh ahhhhaaia haaaa  riggedraaaa muggabee  jain maaliiim!” I mimicked again the gibberish I heard again, and he said “NO” took a breath and repeated it again.  This time his words became recognizable, “The property values in your area appear to have risen dramatically just in my lifetime!”

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In July I caught a bad cold – actually eye infection and ear infection.  I was prescribed antibiotics and recovered, but with lingering plugged ears.  Oddly, for two or three weeks after mostly recovering from the infections, my daily – sometimes constant throat clearing disappeared.  I caught another cold with coughing, sneezing, and clearing, but it’s fading away….  will the throat clearing stay?  Or did that infection have a positive effect?

Hood Bird

2018 07 27_1411_edited-1“Grandpa, what’s that?” My four-year-old grandson asked as he patted the old, pitted chrome ’55 Chevy hood ornament mounted on my riding lawnmower.  “Well, that’s called a hood bird.  Come with me, I’ll tell you about it.”

K&J Here_0635_edited-1I lowered the open the hood of my ’57 Belair and pointed to the wind splits.

He stood on Uncle Larry’s wooden box stool and watched as I explained.

“This is a 1957 Chevy and these two things are called “wind-splits.”  The hood bird on the lawnmower is from a car that is two years older than this one, a 1955 Chevy.  It didn’t have wind splits, it and the 1956 Chevy had the hood bird instead and it 02APR05 003_edited-1goes right here,” I said as I patted the front center of the hood.

This is a special moment for a grandpa.  I was surprised at the rush of sentimental feelings it brought – sentimental about what?  My grandson may or may not remember details from this lesson, but maybe one day years from now when he sees a car of this vintage he will remember me.

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Pelé is Now Accepting Applications

Rocky is off to his new home.  Maybe someone reading this would be a good fit with Pelé.

She is a pure white, fixed, 8-year-old female.  I named her Pelé (after the soccer player) because as a kitten she displayed excellent ball control slapping it left and right as she dribbled across the floor.  Also, because the people my wife got her from said she was male.  After several months, Pelé began acting strangely.  I took him to the vet who diagnosed him to be a female in heat.

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Who will blink first?

Pelé has been an indoor cat all her life, showing very little interest in going out of the house.  She’s always been a shy cat.  It takes her a while to warm up to strangers but once you make it onto her “nice” list you’re free to enjoy each other’s company.

She likes to sit on my lap while I watch TV and have her face and ears rubbed.  Her shyness disappears at bedtime, maybe because her human is horizontal and doesn’t seem so large.  That’s when she wants to nuzzle and purr.  She will slip her head under my hand to tell me this is a perfect time for fondling and petting.

She doesn’t wear a watch, but she knows the time.  She always has dry food available, but each day when I get home from work (about 5:pm) she will sprint past me on the way to the kitchen to “direct” me to her dish – as if she thinks I will wonder, “What’s all the excitement about over there near the cat food dish?”  When I arrive to investigate, she gets 1/3 can of tuna.  On the days I’m home early, she wants the tuna early.  If I give it to her, she’ll forget, or she hopes I forgot because she will direct me to her dish again in an hour or so (it’s worth a try).

We feed her 1/3 can of tuna daily, and all the dry food she wants.  Years ago, she broke out in a rash and was losing hair.  The vet said she has a condition or disease that causes that if she eats grain-based canned cat food.  She didn’t like the grain-free canned cat food she sampled, but she loves tuna, and since we switched to it she has not had a rash.  We also love tuna because 1/3 can per meal costs less than canned cat food.

Pelé is available free to a nice person who appreciates cats.  As a bonus, she will bring with her the long sought-after secret to eradicating kitty litter dust.

Let me know if you are interested or if you have questions.

Royal Cat Seeking New Domain

This is Rocky:

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You may leave the room quietly as I ponder the answer to your question, “Why are you on my clothes?”

Possibly Royal Cat now accepting applications from domestic domiciles that may well benefit from his wise and patient supervision. 

He likes to sit looking quite regal but I doubt he has royal lineage.  I’m also a bit suspicious of his feline pedigree.  I personally don’t know any Ewoks and I barely remember them from the movies, but since I got to know Rocky, I’ve wondered if he isn’t part Ewok.

I wonder that because of his language.  He’ll often say, “Eyaht! Eyaht!” instead of, “Meow, meow.”  Sometimes he lets a word slip out in plain English – “NAOW,” as in “when can I get that for you, Rocky?”  “NAOW!  Ah, hrump-hrump…..  Meow?”

He could also be part dog because he dogs your feet, but in his case, he cats your feet.  As you walk across the room (if the mood strikes him) he will follow closely and slap at your heels, one after the other with each step.  I’m not sure of his purpose for this, maybe it’s a variation of his main compulsion.

His main compulsion, his primary purpose in life is: As you walk from one room through the next as in route to or through the kitchen, he will zig-zag in front of you, making only slight contact (counting coup?) with your ankles and feet.  In this process, he believes he is gently directing you (where you are already going) and when in range of his cat-food dish, he will dash to it and begin eating.  He’s done this for years and all I can understand from this daily ritual is that he wants you to watch him eat.

My relationship with Rocky began when he lived with our younger son through his college years and beyond.  From the day our son married and moved far away, Rocky has lived here with my wife and me (and Pele, the other cat seeking new domain).  My wife and I are retiring, hope to do some traveling, and have concluded the time is right for Rocky (and Pele) to transfer to another locality.

He uses a cat box, eats only dry cat food, and has been an indoor cat all the time I have known him, except for the few occasions he succeeded at his secondary purpose in life – escape!  When he enjoys that success, he’s not sure what to do with freedom, so he comes back.

We’ve cohabited with several cats over the years.  Rocky has the “most pronounced personality” of them all.

Rocky is available free to a nice person who appreciates cats.  As a bonus, he will bring with him the long sought-after secret to eradicating kitty litter dust.

If interested, please contact me by commenting on this post.