Another Adventure Begins

Last night a bit after 10pm we put the garage door down on our ex-house and drove away for the last time … in the rain. We have had plentiful rain these past couple of weeks. We’re only half-way through the month of August and already we’ve had enough rain for this August to be the 3rd wettest in recorded history. Global warming or not, our weather here is different.

Back to the house. The plan was to put the house up for sale, fill out the paperwork to go on an LDS Church mission, retire from the Idaho National Laboratory, sell the house, drive the motor home around the country visiting family, and leave on a mission.

And, as plans go, much doesn’t go according to plan!

The house sold in 11 days. Three people came to see the house. The second couple came back a second time, verified that the house met all of their criteria, and bought the house. Our realtor (Gary Seymour, a great realtor in Pocatello if you ever need one) had told us to plan 45-90 days for the house to sell. There were several other houses in our neighborhood for sale, as well as a pretty hefty inventory of houses for sale in the greater Pocatello area.

We close on the house sale in 45 minutes (it’s currently 6:45 am as I write this) at which time we become “homeless” … or “vagabonds” as Nina puts it. We’ve moved into our motor home at the Cowboy RV Park in Pocatello and last night was the 2nd night for us to have downsized from 4,200 sq ft of living space to about 110 sq ft of space. We have stuff everywhere. All of it absolutely essential, I’m sure. The biggest issue at the moment is clothes … where to hang all of the clothes??

I’m sure the next Big Issue will be: “Where did I put that (thing)?” Even in this small space, I’m sure there are plenty of “safe” places where things can be hidden for centuries….

My retirement date is September 12th. We’ve now embarked on a process to figure out how to live together in a very small space. It’s going to be fun!

Our mission paperwork is almost ready to be submitted. One final piece of paper that Nina’s doctor needs to sign (but, of course, he’s not in the office for some reason). Then we can push the “submit” button and wait.

Life is good!! Ta ta for now.

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Hartford, Here I Come

I’m on a Delta flight from Salt Lake City to Atlanta, Georgia. Seated in 29E on the right side of the airplane. This 767-300 airplane has 7 seats across. Two on the left, three in the middle, and two on the right. Row 29 is about two-thirds of the way to the back of the airplane. Seat E is the right seat in the middle row of three seats. A (talkative … but not to me, to the woman on his left) is in the middle and a woman sits in the left seat. Across the aisle to the right are two girls with a service dog. We’re about fifteen minutes into a three-hour flight.

I’m on my way to the American Radio Relay League (ARRL) centennial conference in Hartford, Connecticut. James, oldest son with call sign K9JLS, is driving there from his place in Kentucky. He’ll pick me up at the airport and we’ll do this event together.

Tomorrow (Thursday) is a day of training session. We’re attending the session on emergency communications. Friday and Saturday are the general sessions of the conference, including a tour of the ARRL headquarters and the main ham radio station there.

So, what have I forgotten to bring? A lot, actually.

I was supposed to bring a hand-held radio. Forgot it.
I was supposed to bring a bunch of QSL cards. Completely slipped my mind.
I needed another battery for my Bose headphones. Didn’t bring that either.

So, this’ll be a very successful trip anyway. I’m looking forward to the event.

In other news, we understand that someone is making an offer on our house. Maybe it’s sold?? That would be magnificent. Too soon to start celebrating, however, We don’t have the offer and who knows if it’ll even be close to acceptable.

The plane is full. A body in every seat, plus quite a few extras including a service dog and quite a few babies in laps. We were a half-hour late leaving due to a “maintenance issue” but should arrive on time. Perhaps with baggage as well. I’ve a checked bag that’s pretty key to being able to sleep at night.

Ta ta for now!

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Happy Easter … Time to Catch Up a Bit

We’re spending Easter weekend in North Salt Lake with our daughter Heather and her family. Not only do we get to enjoy her company (and a fabulous Easter dinner), but Nina was “given freedom” on Friday by her foot doctor.

20140420-075853.jpg This was the six-week checkup to verify that all has gone well up to this point. He authorized her to start putting weight on her foot but to be cognizant of the pain and swelling (“The foot will swell up more than before”).

Yesterday the kneeling scooter was abandoned and crutches were employed (most of the time). She’ll be walking unaided Real Soon Now. She’s to continue wearing the boot for at least another month when she can start trying shoes. She returns on June 6th for another checkup.

My thumb is healing very nicely. The bandages are gone. I’ve made my last visit to the doctor. Feeling is returning, but the sensations are not reliable. Nerves take a long time to heal and don’t take kindly to having been disturbed. The doctor said it could be a year before all of the nerve damage is healed. At the moment, I’m quite happy that my thumb isn’t banging the space bar any more!


We’ll be here until later this afternoon. Church is from 1- 3 pm with dinner immediately afterwards. We’ll need to leave here not later than 5:30 pm to go back to Pocatello. I have a ham radio assignment at 8 pm tonight, so I need to be there a few minutes before that to get the radios turned on and set up.

Life is good! Ta ta for now!

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Did The Fall Do Damage?

Checking the x-ray

Checking the X-Ray

The fall that Nina took last Monday (the 31st) was definitely a setback. The swelling and pain didn’t want to subside. After talking to the doctor’s office on Thursday, Nina decided she should have it looked at and verify that there wasn’t more damage done. So, Friday mid-day she worked her way down the garage steps and into the car. We met with the doctor in Salt Lake City at 3 pm. He checked things out, had some x-rays taken, and determined that no significant damage had been done but that the fall had indeed been a small setback in the healing process.

We also learned that almost every Achilles tendon patient falls at some point in the recovery process. However, if the boot is on, the likelihood of doing damage to the tendon was close to nil. He printed out the x-rays for us to take home, where they’ll certainly end up in Nina’s journal. We were both quite relieved that everything was going to be OK, it was just going to take a bit longer.

Nina decided to stay in Utah for the weekend and our daughter Heather would bring her back home on Monday. I had other obligations in Pocatello so I decided to come back home for the weekend.

Our amateur radio club ( is holding a Technician Class training program on Saturday mornings in April and I’m assisting in the process. I had also committed to visiting my friend Darwin who is serving time for Grand Theft. I try to get up to Idaho Falls once a month to visit with him. I’ve also committed to running the ham radio net during April on Sunday evenings at 8 pm. All of that along with General Conference kept me busy over the weekend while Nina was taking care of herself and her foot in North Salt Lake.

We have beautiful grandkids

We Have Beautiful Grandkids!

I thoroughly enjoyed General Conference. I’m not sure what has happened … has conference really gotten that much better or have I just grown up a bit? Maybe it’s a combination. Nevertheless, this was a very good conference with a lot of very pertinent instruction.

There’s a feminist movement underway at present having to do with ordaining women to the priesthood. A group of a couple hundred women tried to get stand-by tickets for the General Priesthood Meeting last October and a larger group were planning to try the same thing this conference. Ahead of the conference they had sent a letter to President Thomas S. Monson demanding the right to attend the general priesthood meeting and to discuss with the Church the ordaining of women to the priesthood. There’s a whole bunch of stuff going on here that I simply don’t understand … and a whole bunch more that I simply don’t agree with. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that there are people who profess membership in a belief in the Church who feel they can tell the Prophet of the Lord what to do. They’ve got this thing more than a bit backwards.

Winter has tried to make a comeback … there were periods of snow, hail, sun, thunder, rain, and wind over the weekend. Winter will not end this year with a whimper. But, end it will, and I’m happy for that!

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Thumbs Up!

It  is healing ... slowly

It Is Healing … Slowly

I’m ready to have this thumb healed and back to normal. I can’t count how many times it hits the space bar on the computer or how often I bang it in some fashion. Buttoning shirts is a real pain. I’ve finally gotten the process of tying my shoelaces working fairly well. Yesterday tying a necktie took almost ten minutes! I don’t want to think about the effort involved if the impacted thumb were on my dominant (right) hand! I think everything would be immensely more difficult.

It is making progress. I went back for the 3rd visit to the thumb doctor on Monday, the 31st. He noticed that there is indeed still a stitch in my thumb. Rather than dig it out, he said we’d wait until the scab started to come off before taking it out, unless a problem came up in the meantime.

Twice I day I’m supposed to take the dressing off, soak the thumb in some warm water with a few drops of betadine for twenty minutes, let the thumb get completely dry, and put a new dressing on it. I’ve several colors of surgical tape to apply and have tried a couple of combinations to give a multi-colored look.

Two-toned Thumb

Two-toned Thumb

The tape itself is quite interesting. It doesn’t stick to my skin, but it does stick to itself and after a couple of hours, seems to stick even more to itself. The entire wrap first consists of a small pad of non-stick material, a few layers of gauze, followed by tape to hold it all together. The whole process from setting up the soak through completion of the wrap takes about a half-hour. I try to couple that with something else, like eating dinner or reading the newspaper — importantly, something that can be done one-handed.

At the rate this is healing, I think it’ll be another six weeks before I can lose the bandage. My next dr. appt is on April 14th. The dr. indicated that the next milestone in the healing process is to have the entire wound scabbed over. Most of the wound does not currently have a scab, so that’s going to take some time.

In the meantime, all spelling and grammatical mistakes are the fault of the thumb. There is no other explanation….

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A “Must Attend” Concert

Happy to be Here

Happy To Be Here!

One of the premiere concerts in Pocatello’s Season of Note series at the Jensen Performing Arts Center this year was Chris Botti. He is an amazingly talented jazz trumpet player and is prominent on Nina’s playlists. This was a not-to-miss concert. Going to Church the day before the concert proved that it could be done … Nina can get out of the house and then back home.

Then came The Fall on Monday, the 31st. The kneeling scooter got away from Nina and down she went, twisting her left leg in the process. She said it was so painful that she screamed! I can only imagine how difficult it was to get disentangled from the scooter and back upright all the while fighting intense pain, but she did it. The big question then was, could she still go to the concert?

A few pain pills later, we decided to make it happen. Some very good friends, Paul and Rosalie, bought tickets to go with us to provide assistance. Rosalie isn’t a jazz fan, but had, along with the rest of us, a delightful time at the concert.

The band and singers with Chris Botti were outstanding. The show started on time and went nonstop for 2 ½ hours. The entire audience (except for Nina) were on their feet for the last half-hour or so of the performance. We really didn’t want the evening to end.

Thankfully, Paul was there to help get the wheelchair back into the house. We came in through the front door and were able to do the job without causing too much pain and difficulty for Nina. Once in the house, though, she declared she wasn’t going back out, ever.

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A Surprise Visit With My Mother

Mother in the Assisted Living Center

Mother in the Assisted Living Center

I had thought that going up and down stairs on crutches was “no big deal” until Nina’s surgery and the requirement that she put NO weight on her left foot at all. How to get her into and out of the house proved to be a very difficult problem. The YouTube videos all featured little tiny people who were trim and fit just bouncing up and down the stairs. In real life, that just doesn’t work.

When we came home from her surgery, I picked up a wheel chair on rent from Maag’s Drug Store and enlisted the help of some friends to pull her up the front steps into the house. There is one 7” step to a landing, then four more 7” steps to the front porch, and a final 7 ½” step over the threshold and into the house. It took three of us to maneuver through the process, learning how to do it while trying not to drop her!

Two weeks later on March 22nd, it was time to go back to Salt Lake City for her checkup. We decided to go down the back steps in the garage which worked fairly well. The workable process turned out to be (1) put the crutches on the next step down, (2) put the bad (left) foot out, (3) trust in God, the crutches, and a nearby assistant (me) and hop down one step without going too far and falling forward and not hesitating such that she would fall backward. It took between a minute and a minute and a half to do each of the five stairs.

Coming back we decided to use the back steps again and she would try to go up on her crutches. That didn’t work. I then had her put her arm on my shoulders so I could help lift. Eventually we got it to work, but that required putting her left toe down to help stabilize while trying to ignore the sharp stabs of pain up the left leg.

That process worked well enough that the following Sunday (March 30th) Nina felt ready to go to Church. The process of going down the garage steps went a bit faster, but not without a lot of maneuvering around. We had a nice time in Church. Once out, Nina felt we should take advantage of the time and make a surprise visit to my mother in Soda Springs. So, after Church was over, we headed east.

The visit was definitely a surprise! Mother was able to see the kneeling scooter that Nina was using, look at the incision and the healing progress. We had a very nice visit.

The return home was another difficult problem, as was expected. We did make it up the garage steps, but again the left toe was required. We both decided that trips out of the house would have to be limited! It’s hard to imagine how difficult life is when you have only one leg to stand on.

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Another Year Already Gone?

Happy Birthday, Roland From Google

Happy Birthday, Roland From Google

Today was Number 69. Had a nice conversation with my mother and thanked her again for birthing me! Another nice part of the day was that no one at work knew it was my birthday. I liked that a lot.

When I fired up my computer, up came a Google Doodle (pictured above). So I clicked on it. This is what came up:

Roland's Google Profile

Roland’s Google Profile

My Google profile! That’s a nice touch, Google. Well played!

Meanwhile, I’m off to “party” some more (that is, study the back of my eyelids)….

Ta ta for now!

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