Thursday, February 28, 2019

Decision process

Here’s a little insight to the decision process in the Sixbears household.

Tuesday night. My lovely wife and I are talking about our plans for next winter. It comes down to making do with the Oday 19 sailboat. The budget is tight and we really shouldn’t be looking to buy another boat. I must be out of my mind to even look at other boats.

Wednesday night: My lovely wife says she’s thinking about that Pearson 26 we looked at last summer. She really like the layout as it was fairly roomy for a 26 foot boat. Too bad the keel boats were little piles of rust. I assured her they made a zillion of those and we could always find a sound one if we wanted to go with that model. Then I mentioned I know a way to make the budget work.

So what happens next? Who knows?

Actually, what we’ll most likely do is go forward with the Oday plans. It doesn’t need much work. Heck, shovel the snow off it, load the sails, cushions, and a bit of gear and it could go now. There’s the little issue of getting a tow vehicle, but we plan on buying an old beater anyway.

So is that what we’ll actually do? Maybe. However, that could change right up until the last minute. Should the right boat fall into our hands I could find myself sailing south three days later. My lovely wife and I make plans, but we are always open to opportunity. After more than 40 years of marriage I kinda have a hint how this stuff works.


Wednesday, February 27, 2019

A thin layer of technology

When you think about it, in the grand sweep of human existence, our technological world is a fairly new development. I’m pretty much measuring from the start of the industrial age. We’ve had technological advancement before then. When you think about it, stone axes, bows and arrows, and fire making were huge steps in our development. In the early days technological improvement happened at a glacial pace.

Personally, I think the bronze age was a high point. We had metal working, organized cities, writing, complex social structures, city planning, International trade, treaties and so on. Significant areas of the world were civilized.

Technology really got going in the industrial age. Once fossil fuels were harnessed, the scale of everything changed. Humanity was no longer limited by the power of a growing season’s sunshine. Coal, oil and gas are basically a store for thousand’s of years worth of sunlight. We’ve had a huge explosion of technological advancement in the last two hundred years. On the scale of human existence, that’s a short time.

We really aren’t all that different physically from our stone age ancestors. Humanity has a heck of a lot more experience at being hunter gatherers than anything else. Mentally, we are struggling with this whole civilization and technology thing. Don’t believe me? Study after study shows how our mental condition is improved with just 20 minutes of exposure to the natural world a day. Humanity needs nature to thrive.

So while we’ve had civilization for something like 10,000 years, that’s hasn’t been long enough to totally transform us. At our core we need to walk among the trees, stroll along the beach and run barefoot in the grass.

That and maybe we need to kill something with a spear. That’s not too far down under our thin technological veneer.


Tuesday, February 26, 2019

The collapse around you

There are plenty of people out there with big plans for “if things get bad.” Many of them have some sort of Mad Max scenario in mind. Yep, should the Apocalypse come they plan on being lords of the wasteland or have some big bug out plan in mind. They are keeping their powder dry for that fateful day.

Maybe so. On the other hand, many people are living in places that are in a slow motion collapse. Few preppers have that sort of thing in mind. Year after year things get a little bit worse. The infrastructure slowly goes down hill. Roads fall apart. Pubic transport gets dirtier and less reliable. City government, police, fire, and all the other services have continuous budget cuts. The schools become nothing more hoodlum warehousing.

There are plenty of reasons for living in a bad area. Maybe you’ve got a good job. More likely, you have a good enough job on which to survive, but not good enough that the skills transfer somewhere else. Besides, moving is expensive. Maybe you have family and friends around. Plenty of people find themselves upside down in a house they can’t sell.

It’s no surprise which areas are doing poorly. Just a quick Google search will reveal the worse cities, states and countries. Does the place you live in appear fairly regularly in those lists? If it does you’ve got to ask yourself what the heck you are doing there.

There are those who are aware that they live in a bad place, but feel there can bug out before things really get bad. That’s a form of Russian roulette. If you leave too early, it could cost you a lot of money and make you feel like an idiot. Stay too long and gangs roam the streets and the bridges are on fire.

If you find yourself in a crap location move out. Do it now while it’s still relatively easy. The worse that could happen is that you move into a better area when you didn’t really have to. Okay, that’s not fair. Moving can be hard. On the other hand it’s a lot easier when no one is shooting at you.


Monday, February 25, 2019

Well enough to get well enough

I think I’ve finally gotten well enough to keep getting well. The trick is to avoid backsliding. I’m at the point where I’ve been able to get out of the house. That’s been great, but it’s also been exhausting. Months of limited activity have taken its toll. However, I’m better than I’ve been in about seven or eight months.

The plan is to get back in condition over the spring and summer. My health will determine exactly what kind of fall and winter I’m going to be up for. Barring any major setbacks, I should be ready for just about anything.

Currently my lovely wife and I are still getting help with house projects. My lovely wife has been dealing with fibromyalgia for years. She does better than many people with this condition, but there are days she must rest.

That’s was part of the reason we went from doing long canoe trips to traveling in a sailboat. On a canoe trip, she just could not get the rest she needed. Traveling on a sailboat she can always go inside and rest if needed. That’s worked out fairly well. As long as we stick to sailboats that can be handled by a single person we’ll be fine.

My lovely wife has been taking care of me since I came back home. Thank goodness that I’ve been able to contribute more to the chores lately. I’m blessed that family and friends are still helping. Recently my son-in-law changed out a cracked toilet for us. My family has helped with house projects. You’ve no idea how hard it’s been to sit in my recliner while other people do the work. Getting well is my main job right now, so that’s how it has to be.


Sunday, February 24, 2019

The Circus Begins

Well, it’s only 2019 and Presidential candidates are already trudging through the snows of New Hampshire. It’s going to be a long long election cycle.

One good thing about being a New Hampshire voter, you can actually physically meet with major political candidates three or four times before you decide. That sort of up front and personal contact is rare.

Then there’s the chance to meet a lot of these people before they have their act polished up. The truth is more likely to slip out in the early days of a campaign.

New Hampshire voters meet a lot of candidates the rest of the country will never get a chance to meet. The Granite State is where political ambitions come to die.

One thing about the political circus, it certainly brings a lot of money into the state. How often do normal people get a chance to fleece politicians instead of it being the other way around?

So who am I really looking forward to seeing run this election cycle? Vermin Supreme. Frankly, this might be his time.


Saturday, February 23, 2019

Roads Not Taken

It’s funny how life is full of little zig zags. You start out doing one thing, then something else entirely comes up. Off you go into another new and different adventure. I’ve been reflecting on a few of of those times when life could have gone one way but went another.

I’m not talking about the inadvertent things that derailed my plans. Life is full of those. This is about a few of those choices that resulted in roads not taken.

The Road Not Taken
By Robert Frost
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.


Notice he took the road less traveled and that it made all the difference. However, there’s no value judgment if that road turned out better or worse. In that spirit I think I’ll mention a few roads not taken.

Back around ‘93 or ‘94 my lovely wife and I came close to buying a building and opening a bookstore. We knew there wasn’t a lot of money in it, but we do happen to love books. The only way to make the numbers work was to be able to purchase a building on the cheap. There was one in our price range. The building looked like it could work. One of the things that killed the deal is that I discovered that the septic system was subpar -and actually located on the neighbor’s land. We never did find the right conditions for a bookstore.

Then there was the time we were tempted to buy a campground. That venture might have financially broken us had we gone forward. One thing I didn’t like is that lovely wife would have to work full time while I managed the campground. That didn’t look like much fun.

Once I came dangerously close to buying an old VW microbus. I spent a good while haggling with a husband and wife about their bus. We were only a few hundred apart, but I refused to go up and the wife refused to go down. The husband wanted the cash in my hand so bad, but the title was in the wife’s name and she wasn’t budging. In the end I walked away as the couple was in the middle of nasty marital spat. Instead of buying that bus I bought an old Mercedes diesel and got into vegetable oil fuels.

There were a lot of roads not taken when it came to boats. We were offered a free 40 foot wooden ketch in sail away condition. The couple had it based out of Rockport Maine and were looking to give it to couple younger then them who would keep it sailing. I was sorely tempted, but my lovely wife said no. In the end I’m thankful she put her foot down as a maintaining a wooden boat is a full time job.

Then I refused a free catamaran that was offered to me after our shipwreck. It only needed a good cleaning. The owner suddenly lost his storage and I could have had it for the price of moving it. Too bad my lovely wife wasn’t quite ready to get back on a boat. Had I know she’d get over it in less than two weeks I might have said yes.

This past summer we were tempted by a couple of boats. There was a Pearson 26 that was clean and looked good. However, I discovered the keel boats were little piles of rust. We would not have had much time to fix it and I was leery of doing a rush job on something so vital as a keel.

During that same shopping trip we inspected a British Westerly sailboat that had bilge keels. It was a stoutly built boat and the information on the Internet looked good. We happened to look at the boat after a heavy rain. There was a good four or five inches of water sloshing around inside the cabin. Then there was the little issue of the trailer. One of the draws was that fact that such a seaworthy style boat was on a trailer. Once we got there we discovered the owner never actually launched from a ramp. He always had a crane launch and recover the boat. For me, the whole idea of a trailer was to eliminate things like lift fees. So between the wet cabin and dodgy trailer we moved on.

Oh well, such is life. Those are just a few roads we did not go down. We probably could have made any number of those decisions work -or at the very least we would have learned from them. One thing about life, while you can go down a lot of paths, you can’t go down all of them.


Friday, February 22, 2019

Trip into town

The plan is to accompany my lovely wife into town today. We are going to run a few errands.

My leg is much improved. The wounds have closed up and the scabs fallen off. I can even take regular showers again. That’s a good thing for everyone.

I’ve a ways to go before I’m back in condition, but this is a start. My next scheduled doctor’s appointment isn’t until April. Hopefully I’ll be much improved by then.

There’s a lot of things that need my attention, but getting and staying healthy takes precedence.

Thanks for all the prayers and well wishes. It’s made a difference.


Thursday, February 21, 2019

Wealth and holding onto it

Are cryptocurrencies doomed? Judging from this article in Technology Review, it doesn’t look good. One of the big features of cryptocurrencies was it’s supposed security. At the cure of the 1500 or so Bitcoin like currencies is the blockchain. They were advertised as being uncrackable. As it turns out, they aren’t as secure as once thought. Please read the article if you are into those currencies.

There are things I like about state free money. The very idea appeals that part of me that revels in living outside the system. For me one of the more interesting features was how easy it is to cross International borders and take your money with you. If you have to leave a repressive government in the middle of the night, that’s a good thing. However, at the very heart of cryptocurrencies are computers wasting resources and energy doing useless calculations. That’s my take on it. Feel free to disagree.

Traditionally, if your country was about to collapse, taking its currency with it, you’d convert as much of it as possible into something physical. Gold, silver and jewels are traditional. They have a lot of value for the space they take up. That makes it a bit easier to smuggle across borders.

Governments might say they are for free trade, but that ends when you want to freely trade your personal goods across a border. Border guards are trained to prevent exactly that sort of thing. Spoil sports.

When someone has a fair amount of wealth they like to hold onto it. Putting funds into real estate was usually a fair bet. Even that has limitations. For example, a Jew didn’t benefit from owning property in Nazi Germany. Politics can make property a liability. Most governments tax property. Unless it’s generation income from things like rents, it can be expensive to own. If you want to see real estate investing gone really bad just look at all the new empty cities in China build purely on speculation.

Unfortunately my investment situation is more along the line of buying another bag of dried peas and a box of .22 ammo. I don’t exactly have a lot of wealth to worry about. One less thing to deal with.


Wednesday, February 20, 2019

More Diet Stuff

Yesterday I posed a blog about my 7 year journey eating a vegan diet. Nutrition is a hot topic. Many people have conflicting theories and studies on what makes for a healthy diet. I’m certainly not a nutritionist and can only make personal observations.

Vegan or vegetarian diets tend to be the sort of thing that younger people try at some point in their lives. Most drop the diet out of boredom, inconvenience, or lack of satisfaction. A significant percentage stop due to medical reasons.

It’s my observation that too many vegetarians end up eat a very unbalanced diet. A lot of people survive on sweets, fruit, junk food and french fries. Even just eating too much fruit can give you problems as natural sugar is still sugar.

Personally, I did some research and avoided these problems. My digestion was fine. My teeth were good. My lab tests were in the normal rage. My diet had a lot of olive oil and other vegetable fats. I ate a lot of beans and rice to get good balanced protein. It wasn’t a perfect diet as I indulged in french fries and chips more than I should have. However, it was balanced enough to avoid most vegetarian complaints.

A lot of former vegetarians discovered most of their health problems went away when meat and dairy were reintroduced to their diet. Of course, there are people now who eat paleo and carnivore diets. It’s not for me as it’s a perfect diet for setting off a gout attack. A paramedic friend of mine remembers when paleo diets first became popular. He responded to a lot of people who were having painful gout attacks for the first time in their lives.

I really think we are omnivores and do best with a variety of foods. We can survive on very limited diets, but thrive on more variety. One thing that I still eat a lot less of is dairy as too much seems to give me problems. Once again, that’s something personal.

Of course, I’m a big believer in getting your vegetables and fruit from plants grown in good healthy soil with a minimum of pesticides. When I buy eggs and meat I try to get them from small local farms that treat their animals humanly. Big industrial farms may be efficient, but their methods and products are questionable.

So how does all this affect us as preppers? That’s where it gets interesting. I know how to store and prepare a wide range of foods. My food storage has an awful lot of beans and grains because it’s a cheap way to get a lot of calories. Too many people store such foods but don’t know how to cook them properly and don’t know how their bodies will actually respond to them. These are things you don’t want to find out in the middle of an emergency.

While I do have some shelf stable meats it’s a much smaller part of my food storage. Of course, I live in the woods on a lake. Fish and game are all around me.

Currently my doctor has me on a low salt diet. Fortunately, during my culinary journey I learned how to use a lot of different spices. Low salt food does not have to be bland. My main problem with food is that I love it too much.


Tuesday, February 19, 2019

That Time I was a Vegan

Okay, purists will say I was never a Vegan. I can agree with that. However, I was on a Vegan diet -totally plant based. Veganism isn’t just a diet to most people, it’s about not exploiting animals at all. By that measure I was a really bad Vegan. Not only did I wear a leather jacket, I still went hunting. Yep, really the worst of Vegans.

However, it was the diet that I ate. How did that happen? After suffering terrible injury to my lungs as a Firefighter, I could barely breath. Lung capacity was down to a tiny fraction of what I once had. To make matters worse, my weakened lungs were constantly filling with fluids. After being bounced around to a lot of different doctors, one recommended that I try a Vegan diet.

At that point I felt that I had nothing to lose. After three days on the diet I felt 100% better. Two thoughts ran through my head. The first was “Oh my God this works!” The second thought was “Oh my God this works so now I’m stuck with a Vegan diet.” I loved a good plate of steak and eggs and meats of all kinds. How hard was it to stay on a Vegan diet? Well, think if it this way. If it was the cost of not getting waterboarded every day, you’d gladly go on one too. Sure beat drowning in my own fluids.

I was on a Vegan diet for seven years and my health got quite a bit better. However, it wasn’t always easy. After seven years I found I could add fish without feeling any negative effects. That was nice and made eating out a whole lot easier. Then later on my lovely wife and I were traveling through rural Texas. Twenty years ago there weren’t a lot of vegetarian options available out in the back country. That, and their fish offerings were terrible. That’s when I added chicken to my diet and discovered that it didn’t give me any problems.

It was not all that long after that I eventually added most other meats to my diet. One thing that I still consume sparingly is milk products. Those appear to sometimes give me congestion issues. I don’t eat as much meat as used to and it tends to be much cleaner meats than what I once ate. Generally, I feel better when they come from local sources that are organically raised or nearly so.

So what happened? One of the things I suffered from after my firefighting days was massive chemical sensitivities. To this day my lovely wife does not wear perfume and scented candles are banned from the house. However, I’m not nearly as sensitive as I used to be. My guess is that the plant based diet I was on just put me into less contact with the chemicals that triggered reactions. Taking a break from those chemicals allowed my body to heal.

So why am I not still on a Vegan diet? Frankly, I now feel better as an omnivore. Once my breathing situation sorted itself out I was able to add more diversity to my food choices.


Monday, February 18, 2019

Death in Haiti

Right now Haiti is burning. It’s barely in the news, so here’s a link. Things are bad. Countries are evacuating their people. It’s a huge humanitarian crisis.

Haiti is a lot closer to the United States than Venezuela, so why haven’t we heard much of anything about it? Could it be because they have no oil?

There’s a retired doctor who lives not that far from me. He delivered my babies. One of his daughters and one of my daughters are very close friends. They are marvelous people. This doctor fled one step ahead of the Haitian military and the Tonton Macoutes.

If I didn’t have a personal connection to the Haitian people I probably wouldn’t know or care what was was happening there either. However, it’s turning out to be another crisis right next door. Don’t be surprised when more leaky boats show up off the coast of Miami.


Sunday, February 17, 2019

Lousy Farmer

I would have made a lousy farmer. Thank goodness my ancestors gave up potato farming in the cold rocky soil of Quebec. That’s not a life for me.

Don’t get me wrong; I’m glad there are farmers. I’m doubly glad I’m not one of them. For me running a farm is a type of slavery, or at the very least serfdom. Serfs were bound to the land. Farmers are too. Don’t think so? A farmer that spends too much time away from his farm soon goes out of business. Lord help him if he’s raising animals as they require constant care.

I believe it was Henry David Thoreau who said something about how much of a misfortune it is to inherit a fully functioning farm. Then again, I guess we can call Thoreau’s cabin experiment at Walden Pond the great grandfather of the simplicity movement. He pared down life to the basics and seemed to truly enjoy himself.

Thoreau, while not a farmer, was a gardener. There’s a huge difference between the two, and not just of scale. A farmer grows food with the intent of surplus. That surplus allows him to participate in the money economy. A gardener grows just enough for his own needs. That allows him to have freedom from the money economy.

Farmers deal with the greater economy of banks, markets, suppliers, dealers, regulators -a whole host of masters. A gardener avoids all that. They can even afford to participate less in the money economy because part of their needs are being satisfied without it. No need to earn taxable money to buy the food that you can grow.

As you can imagine, governments love farmers and hate gardeners. The first farmers provided the surplus that supported bureaucracy, priesthoods and armies. Sure, we got civilization out of the process, but at a high cost to personal freedom, liberty and health.


Saturday, February 16, 2019

Money Time and Comfort

While recovering I’ve had very little I could do but think about stuff and so some research. I must admit to getting some emotional comfort during this long winter recovery from watching sailing videos. Some things stood out.

If you’ve got the money it’s easy to purchase a comfortable boat and go sailing almost immediately. The fascinating thing is that not that many people who are motivated to make money want to quit and go sailing. A tiny fraction of high earners say enough is enough. Often something happens in their life that causes them to make a major change. Perhaps it’s a brush with mortality and they realize time on this planet is limited.

Young people might not have the money, but they have the time and energy to turn an old boat into a sea worthy comfortable one. Too often people wait until they retire to do a boat project. Most projects take longer than expected. Do you want to go sailing or work on a boat until you die?

So what does a guy like me in his 60s do? I don’t have a lot of tine to waste. While I have the skills to do boat projects, I don’t want to spend all my remaining days doing them. I’m also one of those baby boomers who forgot to make a fortune. So when it comes to boats I don’t want to spend the time and can’t spend the money. That’s where one has to take a hard look at the comfort part of the equation.

A nice big catamaran is super comfortable but way way out of my price range. Certainly can’t afford that. New mono hulls are like floating apartments, but even they are too expensive. That leaves older cramped boats without all the bells and whistles. In short -less comfortable.

Then again, one has to ask: what is comfort? Yeah, I don’t have an ice maker on my boat, but I’m not stuck in port somewhere waiting for someone or parts to fix it. Instead I could be in a remote bay watching the sunset while sipping a warm rum. That’s a trade off I’m willing to take. There’s something to be said for simplicity.

I’ve been writing about boats, but it applies to other things too. Many of us know people who’ve bought expensive luxury cars only to have them in the shop all the time. People buy big houses with huge lawns only find they’ve become a general contractor to get everything taken care of. Either they have to hire people or they become the servant to the property.


Friday, February 15, 2019

Interesting information from unusual sources

We know our news is pretty filtered these days. To make matters worse, it’s very easy to have news feeds pander to your existing biases. Sometimes, however, interesting information can be found without really looking for it.

Lately there’s been a lot of attention grabbing scuttlebutt on various sailing forums.

It’s no secret that sailing can be pretty expensive. People with fancy yachts have issues with protecting their wealth and investments. Lately there’s been a lot of chatter about Europe. People are concerned about keeping their wealth in Euros. There’s even talk that maybe there won’t even be Euros five years from now. The main concerns are Brexit and the unrest in France, Italy and other countries. The smart money has serious doubts about the EU holding together.

Now some background for the next bit of information. Larger boats use something called the AIS system. In short, boats have transponders that broadcast basic information about the boat -things like boat name, speed, heading, size and whatnot. It’s one way ships are able to avoid collisions in the dark.

Military ships don’t play by the same rules. Only recently after a few embarrassing collisions have they started to turn them on, and only in high traffic areas. There’s some indication that military ships sometimes broadcast false AIS signals showing them to be harmless merchant vessels instead of warships. About a month ago there was a lot of suspicious AIS and US Navy traffic off the coast of Venezuela. There’s talk of boats running “dark” and others with false IDs.

Speaking of Venezuela, yachts in the Caribbean have noticed Russian and Chinese flagged vessels heading there, more than normal. Looks like things maybe be getting dangerous in that part of the world.

Interesting times.


Thursday, February 14, 2019

Spring Plans

It’s nice to be healing well enough to be off pain meds. There’s some discomfort but nothing that can’t be ignored. Frankly, it’s nice to be able to think more clearly. Those pain meds did the job, but they certainly fogged my brain.

So the question is, what are we going to do next winter? I’m not going to spend it snowed it again. Of course I have to get and stay healthy to make that happen. Believe me, avoiding cold and shoveling is plenty of incentive.

My lovely wife and I talked over our options. With out budget we could probably afford either a tow vehicle for the Oday 19 or to purchase a bigger boat. Both of those items can be had fairly cheaply. I don’t care if the vehicle is 20 years old, as long as the power train and brakes are good. As for used boats, there are a lot of bargains.

One of the reasons there are so many bargains are that it costs money to upkeep a boat. A lot of money can be saved if you do your own work, but some things you just have to pay for. Haul outs are a big one. At some point a boat yard needs to remove the boat from the water. It could be for a short while to redo the bottom paint or it could be put up on blocks for the season. A boat on the hard will cost money every month. Ironically, it’s often cheaper to keep it sailing rather than parked.

While we could afford a boat and normal upkeep, boat yard fees could really stretch the budget. We should be in a better financial position in a year or two. Getting a larger boat would make more sense at that point.

So the idea is that we could tow the Oday 19 south. The Oday is small, but we could easily live on it for a few weeks. We could do a mix of boating and camping. There are a lot of coastal areas we’d love to get back to. Then there are areas we’d never been that look interesting, like Florida’s St. John river.

One thing we probably should not do with our little boat is cross over to the Bahamas. While it’s possible to do so, it wouldn’t be very comfortable. That will have to wait until we can get that larger boat.

Now we’ve got the bare bones of a plan to work towards. There’s a lot that has to happen between now and next winter, but it give us something to shoot for.


Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Home and finances

My lovely wife pan roasted coffee for the first time while I was in the hospital. She’s seen me do it but never had to do it herself. It came out great, the best coffee I’ve had in a couple weeks. Hospital coffee was undrinkable. My daughter’s coffee was pretty good. However, nothing beats coffee from fresh roasted beans. It’s one of the little pleasures of being home.

Normally I’m the one doing the cooking. My lovely wife has taken over while I’m recovering. Her secret is out: she really can cook. For example, dinner was pork chops with mushroom gravy, brown rice, asparagus and a side of roasted spiced apples. When we first married she could not successfully boil water three times on a row. The third time she’d do something like set the stove on fire.

My recovery is coming along. There’s not much to do but spend time reading or on the computer. I’m avoiding watching too much news. Anger and despair are not conductive to healing.

Then there’s the little issue of how I’m going to pay for my hospital stay. What that bill is going to be is anyone’s guess. My son-in-law helped me fill out a whole bunch of forms. The hospital may cut me a deal. I’m not worried about it. As I see it the situation can go one of two ways. One way the hospital sets up an affordable payment plan. If that doesn’t happen the only thing to do is to let the bill go to collections.

Anyone who gets that account will be sorry. Sure, they can harass me for seven years, but if I don’t give them a penny they eventually go away. My credit rating goes down the drain, but during my life it’s been everything from terrible to excellent. Ionly need good credit to get loans I can’t afford anyway.

I hate to do this, but the medical system was supposed to be fixed by now. Both parties promised affordable health care of one sort or another. Instead we have the worse of all worlds and that’s not my fault. So it goes.


Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Dehydration and Candy

So this is weird. The doctor wants me dehydrated. Right now he has me on diuretics to keep the swelling in my leg down. Not only that he says I should have hard candies to keep my thirst down. Also, he doesn’t want me to wash my leg right now. Yep, the doctor has prescribed dehydration, candy and banned soap. So pass the candy -doctor’s orders. I have made a lot of progress due to this doctor’s treatments, so I’m paying attention.

I like him a lot better than the doctor who made three incorrect assumptions about me in less than five minutes. Then he went on to do a treatment that did not work twice before. Also, he set my pain management back about 12 hours. Let’s just say that guy will never be my doctor if I have anything to say about it.

However, most of the doctors and staff at the hospital took very good care of me. I was lucky enough to get a private room at the end of the hallway. They kept my door closed as I requested and it was pretty peaceful. That really make my stay a lot more pleasant.

I’m finally back home and really loving the recliner my lovely wife purchased. I’m able to keep my legs elevated and can also use my computer on a lap desk. The dog insisted that she join me in the chair. The arms are huge so there’s plenty of room for her.

It’s good to be home, but there’s a long road to full recovery yet. I can’t get back into my exercise program until the leg is fully healed.

On the bright side, I’ve been able to cut way back on the pain meds. The medications make me pretty loopy. It was a fair trade off when the pain was unbearable. Lately it’s been more important to me that I be able to function better mentally.

Thanks for all the support everyone has given me. It’s made the recovery much easier.


Sunday, February 10, 2019

Good Enough for Trouble

I’m starting to feel good enough to get into trouble. Now I’ve got to be doubly careful. Frankly, I’m just recovered enough that pain management is working really well. When I don’t need any pain meds at all I’ll really be on the mend. My guess is that in another week things should be pretty good.

There’s still an awful lot of healing to do. However, my leg looked like a map of Indonesia and Malaysia. Now it’s more like Micronesia. Still, there’s some pretty good sized scab chunks that need to flake off.

I’m being really cautious as my leg was mostly healed twice before. It didn’t take long for things to go to heck really fast. With that in mind the doctors have me taking it easy until completely recovered. The swelling is pretty much completely gone, which is something that hasn’t happened in months. That makes it a lot easier for the leg to heal.

My daughter has been taking care of me, but I’m looking forward to going home. I don’t need as much attention. Also, my house has been made more recovery friendly. Family and friends have been amazing.

So where do we go from here? Well, there’s a lot of getting back in condition that needs to happen. After months of limited activity, that will be fun. The key will be pacing myself. Rome wasn’t built in a day. Looking forward to putting miles on a treadmill and weather permitting, outside. Getting back into tai chi. That’s very good for my balance and strength. Then there’s the joke: Look out, I know tai chi – I can beat you up very very slowly.

Hopefully, by spring I’ll be able to look for a tow vehicle for the sailboat. It can be towed by something as small as Ford Ranger with the 3.0 engine. That opens up a lot of options for tow vehicles. It doesn’t have to be fancy: good engine, transmission and brakes. It does not matter if the body work is beat to snot, as long as the mechanicals are good and it can tow.

Since I’d been planning on a sailing trip last fall, the little Oday 19 is in fairly good condition. Some items purchased back then need installation, but that’s not a big deal. It could also use some new bottom paint, but that can wait. It won’t be spending a lot of time in salt water until the fall. It’s a fairly quick job as it can be painted while on the trailer.

So right now the idea is to get well, get strong, and get back to traveling.


Saturday, February 9, 2019

Long Strange Trip

My recovery continues to be a long strange trip. Just recently met with a couple of doctors. That was interesting.

In short, I have to keep on doing what I’ve been doing. Once the wounds heal up a bit more I can start back into my exercise program. That’s something I’m looking forward to.

Currently I’m still staying at my daughter’s place. Monday I’m heading to the hospital to get a routine blood test. After that my lovely wife is driving me home. There’s been a lot of people getting my home ready for me. My daughter pointed out that while my place is set up to survive the zombie apocalypse, it wasn’t well set up for normal aging. Some of our living situation was needlessly complicated.

Over and over in my blogs I’ve been pointing out the importance of having a tribe. They really have been coming through for me during my recovery. They’ve done everything from making home improvements to bringing hot meals. It’s been nice sometimes just to have people around to have a coffee with.

Even when I get home there will be people coming by to do things for me. I am blessed and humbled. It’s in my nature to be the caretaker. Being the one in need is an education it itself. All I can do is to say thank you.

Also, thanks for all the good thoughts and prayers. I believe they make a huge difference.


Saturday, February 2, 2019

Another Update

I’ve been staying at my daughter’s house while recovering. Still making progress, but still have a ways to go. Drugs have me feeling a bit loopy so it’s good that I’m so well taken care of.

The hot water tank in my house failed while I was in the hospital. My son-in-law and a plumber are changing it today. I’m going to need that before going back home.

Also a number of family members are working hard to make my house more recovery friendly. Lot’s of reorganization and rebuilding going on. I guess I’ll know exactly how much when it’s all done.

I’ve another doctor’s appointment on Thursday.

Not doing much but getting better.