Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Home

There is something about coming home.  To the home you grew up in.  It's true you can never go back.  It's just not quite the same as when you were younger.  But still it's home.  It holds so many memories, good and bad of growing up.

Yet, it's comfortable and safe and warm.  It's an old sweater that has seen better days, but it feels good.

That's what it is, safety and comfort.  A place of refuge from the rest of the world, and going home to the place you grew up even moreso.

And soon, family and friends will gather for a day of Food, Fun, and Thanks.  We will laugh, argue, annoy, perhaps cry, and laugh more.  In the end, it will be all good.

Then it will be over.  Too soon.. And we will disperse and go back to our own homes.  The places we live, the places we call home. 

But still there is but one Home.

And it's good to be here.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Deer Season 2012 - Final Report

Well another Deer Camp goes into the books, and as usually happens the new guy goes home with the Trophy.   Yes, since 1989 our Deer Camp has awarded "The Big Buck Award".  There are certain criteria that have to be met to win however.  Your deer must be taken between opening time of Firearm Season on Friday morning to 12 Noon on Sunday.  The deer must be the first one you take.  In other words, if you take a doe first, then you are out of the running for the trophy.  The deer must be back in camp by noon Sunday. You pull in at 12:01 with the buck of a lifetime, and you lose. Size is determined first by points then by Boone and Crockett scoring, yes, we'll break out a tape measure if need be. Decision of the Camp Director is final and shall not be questioned.  the trophy is officially awarded at 12:01 on Sunday afternoon.   The winner must display the trophy either in their home or office for the next year and bring it back to deer camp the following year.  You also must pay for getting your own engraving done. If you win that year and there is no more room for names, then you must create/expand the award. 

The magic of the interwebz and Facebook has also netted us at least two and maybe three new people for next year.  John has a friend from Practical Rifle, and there's a mutual friend from the Aurora Sportsmen's Club that has called me and wants to join us next year.   Plus Pierre Khoury has stated he'll be back next year, and I truly look forward to that.  And if there's anyone reading that would like to join us.  Let me, your humble host and Camp Director, know and we'll get you what you need to hunt down here, and put you on some deer. 

So this afternoon John and Roger will pick up their deer from the processor, Pat, had to leave early this morning, so he already has one of his in nice white packages from the processor, but he's bringing the other home to butcher himself.  I prefer to bring home the white packages, as opposed to doing all that work.  

I'm glad that I had this time with several great friends.  I'm pretty sure that they've had as much fun this year as I've had.   And I'm really looking forward and planning for next year's camp.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Deer Season-2012

This has been one of the best year's I've had Deer Hunting.  In fact, I'll go ahead and say that it has been the best ever.  Why?

I've been down here 3 weeks, the longest time I've spent hunting ever.  Yet, I haven't gotten a deer.  In fact I haven't even seen as many as I have in years past.  My two favorite Honey Holes have seem to have dried up.  The usual scrapes and rubs aren't there and I haven't seen much of any other sign either.

However what has made this year truly special is that a long time friend and former solider that I served with drove all the way from Pittsburgh, on a whim, to hunt with me for 3 days.  I was humbled, honored and reduced to tears.  Khoury, you have no idea what that meant and means to me.  I can't wait for you to come back next year and every year after that.

Then my friend and former ASC Board of Director John Kopecky is down here for his first Deer Hunt. I've got him outfitted with a shotgun, stand and fall arrest system.   I'm setting him up along the pipeline where he have a really god chance of seeing deer along with being able to watch in the woods.  Especially, if he goes up in the tree as high as I go, about 30 ft.  You can see a whole lot more of the woods the higher you go.  Whether or not he gets one, I hope he he has a good time, and becomes part of our Deer Camp.   And John has friend that want's to come, but couldn't make it this year. 

Then my friend Pat is also down here.  This is his third year, and he's as excited this year as he was his first.  He got two deer last year.  Both firsts for him a doe with bow and buck with his shotgun.

Even if I take nothing*, this is the best year of deer hunting ever.    



*Even though as of this post I haven't taken anything with my bow,  I still have this afternoon, and then Firearm Season opens tomorrow and runs through Sunday.  Hope Spring Eternal !!!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Occupy, My Ass.

I've avoided all the idiodcracy of the latest news simply by not having TV.   However, despite my best efforts I still keep reading about the "Occupy" morons.   Here's what it boils down to very simply.

They want to rob you. And they want the .gov to hold the gun.

Yep, that's it.  They want to do to you what the Nazi's did to the Jews.  What Stalin did to the kulaks

That's all it is.  They want free stuff, from you, and they want the government to take it from you and give it to  them.  It's a short putt from taxing wealth to confiscating wealth to "elimination of the wealthy".  We've seen it several times in the 20th century.  Which is why many of us who are the producers also own guns.  We're not going to let it happen again.  So to those who want to come and take what I have, simply because I have more than you, through the sweat of my brow, I say "Bring it".

And bring a whole bunch of friends, because I'll have no problem piling up your bodies at my door.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Finding my Muse

Yeah, you.  Get over here.  Sit down and start typing and don't get up until you have something good.  I'll handcuff you and tie you up if need be.

That's what it feels like.  Only at gunpoint.  A very large gun.

Tam has her snarky take on the days events.   

With  Brigid it just seems to flow.  She has a natural ability to write prose that grabs you and holds you.

Roberta gets right to the point..

Mary is a dear and long time friend.

Were I twenty years younger, I'd be chasing Nicki

Then Tony and folks at The Weekly Nitpick, take one subject and do it to death.  Rightly and funny.*


But they all make it look effortless.  With me it's like a term paper due everyday.  That big project the boss assigned to be completed or the company is doomed.   And it's all self imposed pressure.  I feel like I owe it to you, my reader(s).  And in a sense I do, but this is for me and for my son.  It's supposed to be about what I've learned and want to pass on to him.  In case you didn't read  the liner notes.  It's called "The Cancer Ward", not only because I grew up reading Solzhenitsyn, but because I have a terminal case of it.  And an 11 Year Old son.

So I apologize if I'm not as meticulous in writing and posting as I should be.  I'm also out grabbing as much as I can from life in the time I have left.  But do know that I feel guilty when I neglect my blog for more than a day or two.  And I do pretty good when I can get two or three stories ahead and have them in the queue and ready to go.   I can then drop in topical stories and posts without the dreaded "I HAVE NOTHING TO WRITE ABOUT,  ARRRGGHHHH!!!!"  pounding my head against the wall. So enjoy these.  Written in advance as they were.


*I just noticed that 5 out of 6 of my favorite bloggers are women.  Although the Weekly Nitpick has female contributors the vast majority of the articles are written by men, and 3 of the 5 are primarily Gun Blogs.  Women and Guns, *sigh*......

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Tab Clearing

When they finished tearing up my street and left these pipes, my first thought was "These will make one helluva potato gun."

Southport, Indy.  Ride it like you stole it, Dude


I wanted to follow this truck to wherever it was going, just hoping that it might really contain a Firefly.



Why in G-d's name does the Dept of Environment and Natural Resources have the responsibility for Food Service Sanitation?  Shouldn't there be a county Board of Health?   One more of example of why .gov is stupid.


My buddy Andrew Graves.  I love this shirt.  The front has a small badge imprinted (South Carolina Citizen's Militia)  under which reads "Constitutional Enforcement Division".  And yes, we were open carrying. 



In addition to the giant pink peace symbol on the hood, it has every liberal bumper sticker ever printed on it.  I'm glad that Hippy-dipshits like this can freely express their stupidity in this great country and that there are brave men and women standing guard around the clock to keep their Hippy-ass from being stoned to death by the practitioners o the "religion of peace". They have the right to express their opinion and so do I.
You are a Moronic Fuck-tard.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Veteran's Day

Those that served with me will recognize the patch.  I'm told that this solider was in the 92nd MP Co. 

And this is a few years old, but still just as poignant.


    And gentlemen in England now-a-bed
    Shall think themselves accurs'd they were not here,
    And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks
    That fought with us upon Saint Crispin's day

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Robert's 11th Birthday Party.

Okay, it got changed from Friday night to Saturday, I'm sure because she found out I was planning to leave town to go hunting for 3 weeks right after his party, on Friday.  Regardless, I go to the his school because the first half of the party is running RC cars all over the schoolyard.  Hey wait, where are all the other parents going?  What? It's just going to be me and her alone with 8 boys.  Oh sweet and fluffy L-rd, spare me.  Well, I'll just do my best to avoid her and concentrate on the boys and the cars.  

Which goes pretty well until the batteries die and it's time to head to Gino's East for Pizza and Cake.  Presents, I'm informed will be opened at her place.  Yep, I'm going to have to go into the belly of the beast.  Better get uparmored, as this going to suck.  But, for my son, I'll pay any price including playing nice with the  WINO*.  So we divide up the boys between the two cars, and naturally I manage to find a parking space close to Gino's East, while the WINO, of course, passed several perfectly good spots and parked half a town away.  So me and 4 boys get to Gino's East first.  Now, it being Halloween, we're greeted by these two.  The Valkyrie and the Referee.



Okay, I tell the Valkyrie that I'm here with (last name) party of 10 or so.   I'm informed that because we're 5 minutes late they "gave away our reservation".  Now, in front of the podium in the picture is a bench and on this bench is a woman about my age with her young son, waiting to be seated.

So, I ask the Valkyrie "Does that costume come with a shield and a sword?"
 
"What?!? ...... No.

"To bad.  Because in about 5 minutes my ex-wife is going to come through that door, and you'll get to walk through the gates of hell and tell her that you gave away her reservation.   It won't be pretty, once she's done with you.  I've dealt with her for years, so I'm just going to sit over here and watch the carnage.  May G-d have pity on your soul."

All said with a smile and final laugh. 

The lady on the bench was "surprised" , yeah, that's a good way to describe the look on her face. Both the Valkyrie and Referee blanched.   The boys were over by the video games and I went and sat down with a view out the door and on the boys. Smiling.

Suddenly the Valkyrie and Referee huddled up and start scribbling on the podium.  I continued to smile.  I looked over and smiled at the nice lady waiting for a table.  She was still in shock.

Sure enough, about 5 minutes later the WINO walks in with the other boys, looks at me and I point at the two hosts.  She says her name and that she has a reservation for 10 people.  "Oh, right this way."  says the Valkyrie.  The nice lady still waiting for a table starts laughing.  I, again, smile at her, and get a WTF? look from the WINO.

Anyway, we eat pizza, drink soda  and have a piece of birthday cake.
 
Then it's time to get the boys to the WINO's place.  They are having a sleepover, so I tell the boys to stay up to at least 4am and 5am would be better.  They agree.  Party all night long!!!

So once there, it's time to open presents.  Robert opens all the ones from his friends (his gift from his Mom is the party), and finally he opens mine.
Yeah, I'm big on wrapping paper.  I'm a guy, okay.

What did I get him.?  A framed copy of Rudyard Kipling's Poem "IF" to hang on his wall.  I was surprised and amazed that all the boys sat still and quietly listened as he read aloud.  

IF

IF you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or being hated, don't give way to hating,
And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise:
If you can dream - and not make dreams your master; 
If you can think - and not make thoughts your aim; 
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster 
And treat those two impostors just the same; 
If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken 
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools, 
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken, 
And stoop and build 'em up with worn-out tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
 
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss, 
And lose, and start again at your beginnings 
And never breathe a word about your loss; 
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew 
To serve your turn long after they are gone, 
And so hold on when there is nothing in you 
Except the Will which says to them: 'Hold on!'

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,

Or walk with Kings - nor lose the common touch, 
if neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you, 
If all men count with you, but none too much; 
If you can fill the unforgiving minute 
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run, 
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it, 
And - which is more - you'll be a Man, my son!




I think he understands.



*For those of you playing along at home:  WINO=Wife In Name Only.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Road Trip Report (Part Twoith.)

Where was I,  Oh yeah.  South Carolina.  Trying to get form Aiken to Ceasar's Head State Park.   And I had decided to take the "scenic" route.  And boy, was it scenic.  It also took me almost 5 hours to go 129 miles.  Every wide spot in the toad had it's own 30 or 35 MPH zone.  Not to mention that it's not a straight shot.  Not just twists and a turns but Hey, I didn't see any signs back at that intersection, and I'm not seeing any signs saying that I'm still on US 25.  Dammit!!!  Turn around again.  Eventually I make to Caesar's Head, and it's only a 45 minute drive up hill on a twisting road, with overhangs that will kill you if you look over, and I'm towing a camper.  In a Saab 9-3.  Fortunately, it's  a stick, so it's second and third gear all the way up (trying to go to fourth gear will HOLY CRAP CURVE!!! send me over the edge.)

Finally at the top and pull into position.   Yep, there's no room to back in.  It's well after dark, and screw it, I'm not driving off this mountain, until it's time to leave.   The car stays in front of the camper.  Andrew and George and whoever else shows up can drive.  But I don't really care to come off this mountain.

But we must, for food and to go shooting.  We go to a practical rifle match and I out shoot our host.  With his rifle.   I'm not sure if that's a faux pas or not.   Wait? What?!?!  There's no bacon?  How can you not have bacon!!   But despite that we had a lot of fun.  We talked and laughed and told our stories to each other.  Hopefully, they learned something from my mistakes and errors.  They are really nice and good guys.  I'm proud to call them my Friends.

But like all good things, they must come to an end.  We managed to get the camper out and headed down the mountain.  2nd gear all the way so the brakes wouldn't catch fire and/or I go over the side to a fiery death.  I get to the main road and onto finally onto the interstate (screw scenery, I've seen enough). The view from Ceasar's Head.




So after 140,000 miles, trying to push a camper uphill and then coming downhill in 2nd, the clutch decides to give up the ghost.  Right on the SC/GA border.  88 miles from Atlanta and the nearest Saab dealer.  Did I mention that it's 2am and I'm in the WE:COME TO GEORGIA! rest stop.  So I call the nearest towing firm (I now love my Blackberry), and agree to pay whatever amount to get to the Saab dealer in Atlanta, and let the driver sleep in until morning (the dealership opens at 9am).   So I settle in with the rest of the truckers and grab some sleep.  I wake up at 7am and begin my wait for the tow truck.  I forgot I'm on "Southern time" in which 7am means "When I git thar", which is 9am.  Okay.  I call the dealership and let them know I'm coming.  They can't guarantee that they'll get it done today, but they'll do there best.  Chad finally delivers, me, my car and the camper at around 10:30.   And the dealership has the parts, a mechanic and a bay open.  Things are looking up.  So I begin my sitting and waiting.  The service manager is nice and gives me a car to go grab lunch and tells me to keep the key, just in case I need to grab a room for the night.  
Which it turns out I won't.  The mechanic gets it done right around 4pm.  $1700 less rich and I'm  back on the road.  Which I drive all the way to another rest stop in Kentucky, and I again spend a night with the truckers.  Morning breaks and once more on the road and hey, Jim Beam Distillery tours.   What the heck.  Oh there's free samples (max three).  And the Red Stag is not cheaper in the company store.  Back to my folks by noon, and spend a couple of days there.  Then back home to Chicago.   Aside from the clutch, a good trip, only wish I had budgeted more time to see more folks I know in that part of the US.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Road Trip Report (Part Oneith.)

Finally pulled into Festung Scout at about 12:30 last night, after an exciting week on the road.   And what a week it was.
Got to see my old First Sergeant (Wayne Cobb) and one of my soldiers (Mike Alan Engle) in Anniston, AL.  We enjoyed catching up over dinner and then Wayne and Lucy were kind enough to open their home to us and let us spend the night.  The next day he gave us a tour of Ft. McClellan.  Or actually, what's left of it.  Some of the old MP building are in use, mostly but .gov agencies (DHS, Local LE, and couple of colleges), most of the housing areas have gone to seed, although some have been rehabbed.  There are many still for sale. Cheap.   It does tug at the heart to see a place that was so instrumental in our lives to have fallen so far.  It would have almost been better if they would have bulldozed the place.  Although the "Starships" or Basic Training buildings would need a wee bit of explosives to bring down. So there are plants and trees growing everywhere, and I'm sure many a passed on drill instructor and First Sergeant are spinning in their graves over it.  Despite the loss of Ft. McMuffin, Anniston doesn't look any worse than anywhere else in the country, economy wise.  There's still the Depot and local industry (like the Goodyear plant).  But one place that was busy was CMP.
Like entering Nirvana, I was greeted by racks of M1 Garands, some `03 Springfields, 1917 Enfields, and a variety of .22LR Target rifles.  There were boxes of bayonets, and counter to order parts.  I roamed around trying not to be tempted.  That lasted all of about 30 seconds.  I spotted a H&R M1 with at very low throat and muzzle erosion numbers.  Listed as Rack Grade.  With the Rack Grade price.  Why so cheap I asked?  "Some Greek carved his girlfriend's name in the stock."  Sure enough "KAROLA".  Well, Carol, you're coming home with me !!   Some paperwork, a little waiting and my Rifle will be delivered by Fedex when I get home. (Had I been willing to pay Alabama's 10% sales tax, I could have taken it with me.) Oh, and you can take the bayonet and sling home with you for cheaper than shipping. 
Next onto Atlanta and to meet with another of my soldiers and First Sergeants.  However, do to scheduling conflicts I wasn't able to meet with either, so I continued on to Aiken SC.
Aiken being the home of my predecessor as president of the Aurora Sportsmen's Club, Mark Meyer.  While I got him caught up on the doings at ASC, he told me about life as a Yankee in the South.  While the cost of living of decidedly less, there are drawbacks.  #1 being that a you are living in the South, and the South is full of Southerners.  Who individually are great people.  As a group, well,  there's a good reason Sherman burned the place.  Well actually he didn't, "The Battle of Aiken" was the last Confederate victory of the Civil War.  Seems whatever forces the Rebs had, put up a stand and prevented Aiken from being put to the torch.  However, what none of the local worthies remember is that Sherman simply avoided a drawn out fight, went around the Reb forces and burned Burnettown instead.

While there Mark showed my his backyard range and Patrick's Deer Stand.  After letting my try his PlumCrazy AR, we hopped in his truck and headed off to the local gun shop, so that I could get my own complete composite AR lower for $90 like her paid for his.
Alas, since I'm from the People's Democrat Republic of Illinois, our Beloved Atty Gen, Her Worshipfulness Lisa Madigan, has determined that PlumCrazy's are pistols, so they a SC FFL can't sell me one.  (Stupid Gun Laws and overweening politicians strike again.)  I leave empty handed.   But not completely.  Sue gave me pictures of their son Jake being all badass as Marine holding an M240, even though he is a logistics weenie.   But still he is serving and I thank him for his service.  I also asked for and got from Patrick a letter for his NJROTC asking for contributions to help support their Rifle Team.  Last year, the CMP Crew from ASC help Patrick raise more money then the locals.  So in addition to out shooting the Rebs, he out fund raises them.  Earning him the well deserved title of "Damn Yankee".    Now having thoroughly enjoyed my self with the the Meyer's it was time to move onward, and little did I know, upward.   Going from Aiken to Ceasar's Head State Park gave me two choices.  Either I could stay on the Interstate System, as I had driven the entire trip or take US 25 up through South Carolina.  According to Mapquest staying on the interstate would add about 35 extra miles to the trip.  Oh, what the heck, let's see some of this country.  US 25 it is !!

 Next Post- You can't get from one place to another in SC without going somewhere you don't want to.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

On the Road

Since last Tuesday, I've been on the road.  Seen several good friends I have not seen for years and met several friends that' I've known for years in person.   I've seen quite a bit of this beautiful country and will post some pics and tell more later.  Suffice to say, I've had a really good week.  And it's not over yet.   But I just wanted to let everyone know I'm still kicking and having fun. 

Monday, October 10, 2011

Youth Deer Camp

No deer were hurt in the making of this post.

Unfortunately.

This past week was the Youth Deer Season here in Illinois and for the past 2 years I've been taking Robert and one of his friends (and his dad) out to the Aurora Sportsmen's Club to hunt deer.  This is one of my dreams to have a group of 5-8 boys and their dads come, setup Deer Camp for the weekend and Hunt.  Get the boys away from video games and school and girls and moms and sisters and everything and just go be in the outdoors.

First there was getting packed up.  Loading up the car and camper with everything we need to not only hunt but spend a long weekend camping.   As I'm packing up the stuff in the hunting box, Robert sees the Butt-out tool. and asks what it's for.  Now he cleaned pheasants and he's familiar with the process of field dressing, so this is nothing new.  I explain how it works to remove the anal alimentary canal on the deer.  He looked at again and then looked at me and said "Oh, I thought that was how we dragged them out of the woods."   |O_O| 

So we've got the camper loaded and head out to Shabbona State Park to setup camp.  We've got a couple of spaces (since there are 6 people) and when we arrive Pat and his son Jack are already there with their tent setup and fire going.  We quickly get the camper setup and start dinner.  As prep for the upcoming Cub Scout Campout (and the Boy Scouts) Robert makes dinner.  Italian Beef Sandwiches and pan fired French Fries.  Which is a hit.  After dinner there is a sit down with a map as we discuss where we think the deer will be and where we're going to setup.  Then there is my favorite part.  Hanging around the campfire.  The boys make some S'mores and we all just enjoy the night. Since we'll be getting up at 4:30 bedtime is a little earlier the usual, but surprisingly there's not an argument or complaints.  Setting up camp (and playing some tackle football), has worn the boys out. 

First thing the the next morning is Jack getting out of the tent and saying "Wow, look at all the stars!!  Yes, be out and away from civilization and it's nighttime lighting allows you to see thousands if not millions more stars then you normally can.   It's simply beautiful.  We head off for showers and a then a quick breakfast of deer bacon and eggs.  We head over to the Aurora Sportsmen's Club, wish each other luck and head out in the rising sunshine to our spots.
We wait for a bit and listen to the birds greet the morning, there's a rooster off in the distance and then the turkeys at Hoka Turkey Farm wake up.  Lots of turkeys. Thousands of turkey's off in the distance.  I hit the Bleat-In-Heat can a few times.  and we wait.  Suddenly off to our right, the something coming down the trail we came in on.  Antlers !!!  

They stop well short of us. All we can see are a forked set of antlers sticking up from the brush.  "Can I shoot" asks Robert very quietly, gun up on his shoulder. "Not yet." I whisper in his ear.  "Wait until you are sure of your target, and then aim for his back." The antlers move up and down, then there's a grunt snort, and he cuts off through the brush to our right, heard, but unseen.

"That was SOOOoooooo Cooool!!!!" he says.  I can recognize the after effects of an adrenaline dump.  "Nice job not shooting," I reply.  "You have to have a good clear shot, before you pull the trigger."  

Then shortly we spot a pointed set of ears moving through the brush, and they stop short.  Coyote !!!  "Dad can I shoot?"  "Yes, wait until you can be sure of your target." I reply.  But Wily decides instead to move off to yelp and howl at us, never giving us a clear shot.  

So we wait.  But a ten year old can only sit and wait so long.  I have a couple of deer calls, a rattling bag, and the Bleat-in-Heat can.  So Robert wants to try them.  I tell him that we should really only use one at a time as they have different purposes.  So we try one.  And wait.  Then we do the next.  And wait.  I show him how to use the rattling bag.  I rattle, then he does for few minutes. And we wait some more.   Then he does the Bleat-in-Heat can a few times.  And we wait.  He's getting bored, so we get up and walk around a bit.  That's the picture above.  We got back and sit.  And he starts playing with the calls.  Pretty soon it sounds like a Deer Party.  Several bucks are grunt snorting and fighting as a lone doe bleats that she's looking for a boyfriend.  Sounds like if your a deer and not here, you are missing all the fun, as all the deer are here!!

We go back to camp for lunch, the boys play football while the dads nap.  Jim and his son Conner join us after Conner's morning baseball game.  We again go over a plan for the afternoon hunt and head out.  We walk out to our spots and begin the process of waiting. 

 We spotted nothing, but had a good time looking at various Spiders (including a couple of Marble Spiders and an Orb Weaver), following tracks and looking for scat and droppings.   Finally it began to get dark so we made our way back to the car and then back to camp.  Pat and Jack made Steak sandwiches for us (Wow!!) for dinner, then it was sit by the fire and discuss the days events.  Deer were seen but none close enough, nor moving slow enough to take a shot.  Plans were laid for the next day, and as the fire burned down, we headed off to sleep. 
The morning was Blueberry pancakes (sans syrup as it's not a camping trip unless I forget something.) and more deer bacon.  Mmmmmm.  Again, off before the sun comes up and the boys are just dazzled by the number of stars they can see.  

We get to the parking lot and head out.  Hopes are high as we're starting to figure out where the deer "are". 

There is some walking, much sitting and some talking.  But mostly just being.  Being together and enjoying the beauty of nature.   It really doesn't get any better then this.  A father and son outdoors together.  I hope Robert remembers it.  

As the morning grows longer, we accept that the deer have outsmarted us and head back to camp for lunch.   As a concession to the boys, it's Tube Steaks and chips.  We pack up the camper and the boys decide that instead of more hunting, they want to shoot a slug through their guns (Rossi Combos.  A single shot 20ga barrel with a swappable single shot .22 LR barrel).  So we head to the range.  I fully expected the boys to fire one slug and say "That's enough, can we shoot .22 now?"  Turns out Conner was just that, one slug and done.  My Robert on the other hand is recoil junkie.  Not content to shoot all five of his slugs, he also shoots Conner's other four.  The boys burn through an entire box of .22LR ammo, 550 rounds.  And Jim and I look at each other when there is $1.00 bet made as to whether Robert can hit, within five shots, a pink shotgun hull to knock off a tiny Rubber duck they have brought along.  He nails it on the third shot and the bet paid off when during the next break we examine the hull.


Finally, all the targets are shot, the ammo exhausted.  Nothing left but to finish out the weekend with dinner at Robert's favorite restaurant, Pub West.  Trent, as always, is a great host and serves some of the tastiest food.  Cheeseburgers for the boys, Jim has an Italian Beef and I go with the Texas Burger.  We eat, enjoy some football and at long last head out.

A few weeks back, after the Zombie Shoot about an hour or so after I returned Robert to his mother, I got a text.  "He was returned Tired and Cranky, and if he doesn't straighten up, he won't be going to cub scouts next week."  I took that as a point of pride.  In fact, I joked with Jim that I expected to get a text this weekend complaining that I "returned him Tired, Cranky, Dirty, Sticky and Bruised"  (from shooting the slugs).  
But I know that he had as much fun as I did.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Dialysis Training

Okay, I'm in.   But please, give me some credit. I'm a college graduate. I took High School Chemistry (along with Reloading, and doing some "weird science" experiments with my son, I've brushed up on some advanced chemistry). I can work a computer and having spent the last three plus years in chemo; I'm a past master at infection control procedures. 

Walk me though.  Give me the manual and show me step by step.  I get the "Why" for most of it.  If I have a question I'll stop and ask.

But this start in the middle, then go to near the beginning and then let's talk about the the shutdown procedure, before you go back and show you the start-up process.

Whoever wrote the training manual needs to be clubbed over the head and fired.  While his replacement watches.  Dude,  You are telling a story about how perform a step-by-step process.  It has a beginning, middle and end.  The story is much better if you tell it in that order.

So tomorrow is day three.  I told my instructor that I want to "solo".  Setup and run the machine myself.  I'll use the manual to do it each and every time until I develop good habits and the muscle memory to do it the same way, every night, without fail.

Because you can't skip a night.  So it will go hunting with me. (Supplies to be delivered to the campground.  That will be fun !!) 

But please, I've read the book, done all the "quizzes", let me walk through it, and then once I solo, I'll be more than happy to come back for however many days you want me to and I'll demonstrate my proficiency until you are satisfied that I can do it, repeatedly without screwing up.

Please, give me some credit.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

An Evening With Friends

Several months ago I went to my first Indy blogmeet and was welcomed into the group like I was long lost brother.  Tam, Roberta, Brigid and everyone else in the group are as warm and kind in real life as they are in their blogs.

And since that time the ladies have shown me how friendly and caring shooters are in the whole and these fine folks in particular.  And over the course, of my monthly visits to Indy, I was invited to dine and spend time with these nice people.   And as we talked and laughed like we had known each other for years, a germ of an idea came to me.  I wanted to show how much I value and treasure their friendship and repay their kindness by doing something for them that hopefully would be a wonderful and unique experience.  I had a one pointed mentioned that I missed going to the Elgin Symphony, so when Brigid said that she had never been or hadn't been in a very long time, I asked if they would like to go see the Indianapolis Symphony?  Excited with the idea we began to look at dates and performances, and finally settled on going to see Mahler's 1st the last weekend of September.  I was saddened when Roberta and Tam had to beg off, but thrilled that Midwest Chick and Brigid were game.

Suddenly I had a "non-date" with two very lovely ladies to a "grown-up event", so this night was going to be special.

And it was, it started when I was greeted at the door by something low-slung and in black.  Once we got a very-excited-to-see-me Barkley (I was excited to him too!!) back under control, I was knocked out by two knock-outs.  WOW !!!   The ultimate expression of the Little Black Dress and the Red Number that just WOW !!!

And like Prom night, pictures were take and greeting hugs exchanged and mmmmmm vanilla perfume.  Out to open the car doors for the ladies and were off to the Big City.  Give the car to the valet and inside the elegant building which houses the theater and the Symphony.  The on-going highlight of the evening was watching the faces of the people (especially men) seeing someone walking around with not one, but two gorgeous ladies dressed to the nines, one on each arm.  The looks of surprise and envy were just like the Mastercard commercial - Priceless.  The ladies made great sport of it, as I grew concerned that they were going to cause of fellow concertgoers to walk into balusters or the stately columns that dot the lobby as they did double takes and stared.
A pre-concert beverage along with more catching up conversation and it's time to find our seats.  From the ISO's website, there really are no bad seats, but some are better than others, so I wanted seats that would ensure that we be able to really enjoy not only the music but he musicians as well.
The music was phenomenal.  The opening piece, Ades' Violin Concerto was magnificently performed by Lela Josefowicz, it is technically challenging and wild ranging, Ades' piece confuses difficultly with artistry.  Ms Josefowicz breathed love and life into what could have easily become a muddled mess.
During the intermission the two ladies again spent their time touching up their tactical lip-gloss, to the shock and dismay of fellow concert-goers and it seemed that we had pickup a tail of novice nuns (yes, in the habits), also out to enjoy an evening of music, though I never thought that Mahler made the Top 100 in the Catholic Church.
Meanwhile back to to seats for the feature piece.  Mahler's 1st.  While the ISO much acclaimed new Music Director Krzysztof Urbanski was elsewhere this evening,guest conductor Larry Rachleff took over and did a magnificent job of leading the large ensemble (Mahler always liked bigger and more when it came to instruments) in the complex work that can be flat and un--inspired, as is frequently the case in most recordings of the work.  Therefore I was somewhat skeptical as to what kind of performance we could expect.  Needless to say I was greatly surprised and impressed. Mr. Rachleff's light and lively treatment brought out all the complex and intertwined themes that were clear and distinct.  The musicians obviously enjoying the work and that enjoyment growing as the lengthy work progressed.  Leading up to the finally which brought the audience to it's feet for a lengthy ovation.
Having paid our respects to the orchestra, we departed to retrieve the car from the valet.  Upon presenting my stub, the attendant could not find the key and announced that they had probably went to retrieve as they would begin to bring up the vehicles once the performance ended.  After standing by the curb on the Circle and doing the tourist thing (craning our necks upward to to see the Civil War Victory Finger to the South column), I noticed my car park further down round the circle.  Going back inside, I pointed out my car to the attendant who sheepishly admitted that they had not been able to figure out how to remove the key from the ignition of a stick shift Saab, so had parked it, with the key in it, where they could keep an eye on it.  Disdaining a tip, the ladies and I laughed and walked 'round the circle to were I helped them in the car (again, getting stares and double takes from passer-by) and eliciting complimentary comments from the street vendors next to where the car had been left parked.
A quick trip back to Small Town and the Stone Creek Dining Company for an extremely tasty meal of Steak, Shrimp, Scallops, and Chicken, along with all the trimmings.  More conversation and laughs that frequently had me wiping tears from my eyes we were laughing so hard ("and then Sonny the cockateil said....") along with the "church lady" with her teenage daughter sitting in the booth catty-corner who kept shooting me very disproving looks (Two woman !?!?!  and look, they can't even be half his age !!!  Hhhhrrmmppph !!!).

And all too quickly the night was ending.  A return to the current Range, where once again I was met by something low-slung and black (Hi Barkley !!), hugs and a return to my parents home, where I just managed to sneak in before curfew.

I can't thank Midwest Chick and Brigid for a truly wonderful evening of friends, music and food.  I had been so looking forward to it and it was everything I had hoped for and more.  I also would like to thank Mr. B for letting me borrow his Significant Other for the evening, you sir a very fortunate and lucky man.   It was an distinct privilege and true honor to escort both of you ladies last evening.  It's something I'll never forget, Thank you.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Be careful what you ask for

Seems the White House wants to hear from We, The People.  So on the White House. org website they have created a way to start a petition and have stated that if enough people "sign" the petition they will speak to the subject.  Maybe not support it, but they will address the issue.

So this is your chance.  If you're reading this, you're probably on several .gov watchlists.  Might as well go for all of them!!

My friend Sean S. at NC gun blog has links to all the petitions

Topics:
Supporting HB822 (National Reciprocity)

Repealing the Hughes Amendment ('86 Machine Gun Registry)

Taking Suppressors off the NFA


Taking SBS/SBR's off the NFA

Support an Independent Prosecutor for Fast and Furioius

You have to sign up with your name, e-mail, city and state.  We're all on "the list" anyway and they can't use it for spam.  If the petitions get to 500 signers the White House has to respond.

I want to see the press briefing where the White House explains its position on the above petitions.  Hehehehehehehehehe

Fast and Furious

Finally someone has come out and said it

Operation Fast and Furious was not botched. It was planned.  And of course they just couldn't do the small fry.

See the administration made the claim that the bad people from south of the border were buying their guns at Gun shops, Gun shows and from other private sales and that the 2A was to blame.  However, some one went back and ran the numbers and Whoopsie!!  turns out almost all the guns came from Mexican Police and Military sources.

Well that simply won't do.
So what to do get more guns into from US FFL's into the hands of Mexican cartels?  Why ship them directly from the FFL's using the ATF (with Porkulous Money) and eliminating the middle men of the Mexican Police and Army.

So quit calling this thing botched.  It wasn't.  No one can point to anywhere in the plan to seizure or capture the guns nor arrest or kill the bad guys with the guns.  The ATF higher up painstakingly did things to ensure that the guns slipped from ATF control/observation  and disappeared, mostly into Mexico, only to sadly turn up at more and more murder scenes.

Yes, murder scenes.  And like every freedom loving American, I don't care who is being murdered.  I want the person that pulled the trigger either fried or put in a jail he never comes out of.   And those that knew of, participated in and allowed this to happen, need to be tried for those murders.

Go back and read what ATF Agent Newell said about working cases where gun dealers "allowed" guns to walk.  It was Agent Newell that ordered the dealers to sell those guns against the dealers will and better judgement and Agent Newell let them walk.

No one was killed in Watergate.  Agent Newell has the blood of US Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry and hundreds of Mexican and a growing number of Americans on his hands.  For this and this alone he needs to brought up on charges.  Then and only then will the entire rotten edifice of Fast and Furious will come tumbling down.  Yes, Monica, we are to the point of a Special Prosecutor.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

To Hell and Back

I spent the last weekend with Robert.  Time that I cherish.  And we did have fun as well. We "worked" at the BB Gun Range at Northern Illinois Hunting and Fishing Days.  Robert does really well with the young kids teaching the 4 Rules and helping them with cocking, aiming and shooting the Daisy Red Rider's we use.  It's a lot of fun introducing new shooters (mostly kids and moms, as most Dads are too cool to shoot BB Guns.)  We have simple knock down targets, film canisters on string and everyone's favorite the bell-hop bell.  A challenge to hit, but gives a satisfying "DING" when you hit it, and everyone on the line knows when you do.   Everyone gets to watch a 3 minute video and then about 5 minutes of actual shooting.  Yes, as many BB's as you can safely fire.

The best part comes later.  The guys that run the range go to Knob Creek each year.  And they have a simple rule.  If you work the BB gun range, they take you to Knob Creek for the the Machine Gun Shoot. So each year we have several teenagers of family and friends that also work the range.  All really good kids, and fun to be around.  The prospect of shooting machine guns has Robert captivated.  He gets it that "things" are earned.

We  got home we had a couple of hours before he was  due to go back to his mom's.   He's liking WWII movies, so I've picked up a couple of the "9 WWII movies for $4.99" out the bins at Wal-Mart, I also scored a 16 pack of John Wayne movies to include McClintock!   So grab one of the CD's and it has To Hell and Back - Audie Murphy.  Wikipedia for some back story and then pop in the movie.  Yeah, somewhat cheesey.  You can tell that Audie was somewhat uncomfortable playing himself and wanted it as a tribute to those friends killed during the war.   Robert was just in awe.

Those are the lessons I want to teach.  That is what I want to pass on.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Still Augering In.

Well, yesterday was the suck.  I mean really?!?  My Hemoglobin can "bounce" around from a 6.5 to a 7.7?  Neither being "good", but one somewhat less "BAD" then the other.  I had to do all the "Check again to see if he's still breathing?" crap, and the Nurse Practitioner didn't think that I looked like a 6.5.  I sure felt like one.  And yeah I did go camping with a bunch of Cub Scouts last weekend.  And yeah, I cooked breakfast for the entire crew.  And yeah, I then spent two days working the BB Gun Range at Hunting and Fishing Days.  

So if I can dig deep and do all that on less then half the fucking oxygen of all you medical types, why am I getting worse?  9.6 in hospital three weeks ago, 8.8 two weeks ago, 8.1 last week, and somewhere between 7.7 and 6.5 this week.  Oh, and now there's blood (at least hemoglobin) in my urine.  The steriods have induced diabetes (yes, insulin twice a day.) and now a Blood Transfusion this morning of two maybe three units.  That should make me feel better.  Well, at least like I can breathe.  But this is it. I see the kidney doc next Monday.  If they (and by they I mean all my docs) haven't talked and come up with their recommendations then I'll tell them what the Fucking Plan is.

This shit ends.  No more steroids, no more Cytoxan.  And the stem cell can wait.  I'm not playing my last card on a "Hail Mary" that I don't think will work to save my kidneys. They've been so damaged and destroyed over the course of the last several years that I don't think they'll "recover".  And I'm not willing to take a chance on maybe becoming eligible for a kidney transplant.  You'll have to give me better odds then a "possible maybe".   I'll do dialysis.  I can live with that.  I can do maintenance chemo for as long as it *works*.  "Works" meaning that the Multiple Myeloma doesn't begin to attack any other organs or systems. I'll be anemic, hopefully less edemaic, but I'll be able to live on somewhat my own terms.  

But I'm mad as hell that they did this to me.

I just want the Poster.

If you never seen Firefly, you need to watch it.

But this clearly demonstrates the mindset we are up against.

Having been duely warned, the Prof takes it down and replaces it with this:


That really honks off the Brownshirts.

See when it comes to the Left the 1A is okay when you agree with them and their positions.  But let a leftist know that they are also fascists and the gloves really come off.

And hell yeah.  I want *that* Firefly poster.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Chores.

As usual I do things uphill backwards.  When I wrote about Parenting Techiniques, I probably should have posted the ground rules or what drives the techniques.

The first thing that I kept telling the WINO is that our job as parents is to raise happy, healthy, disciplined ethical moral, responsible adults.  People that go out and take the place in society as productive members.

Period.

And  everything we do and did has to be directed toward that goal.

It was like talking to a wall.

I believe in chores.  Age appropriate.  At 5 years old you can unload the silver ware from the dishwasher (I'll take the knives first).  At 8 you can unload the dishes as well.  At 10 you load the dishwasher, properly.

At 7 you can pick up the dog poop in the backyard like you promised when we got you the dog.  At 10 or 11 you can start cutting the grass.

In fact at several points as the kids were growing up we would sit and have a family meeting.  The WINO drafted and wrote out "The Chore Lists" that everyone agreed to.  Yes, even her.  She wrote them, they are in her hand writing.  But when I would direct the kids to do their chores, I was "A Slavedriver" or "Why does it have to be done on your schedule?"  Because I can't serve dinner I cooked, (my chore), if all the clean dishes are in the dishwasher that the kids need to unload."  And then the fight was on.  

This is how bad is was.  I hated the weekends.  Because the would end the same way each time, no matter what I did. 
Friday night- Pizza and a beer night.  Which was really just pizza night, although she might have a beer.  But before she got home I would ask the kids to 1) Get their homework done (always Job#1) and then 2) get their dirty clothes down stairs, so I could do laundry (my chore) and 3) pick their "stuff" around the house and their rooms.  My reasoning being that if we got *that* our the way, we could then do fun things the rest of weekend.  The kids would want to and would get my wife on their side with "It's been a long week, leave them alone for one night." To which I would say, "Fine, I'm doing laundry now.  If you want clean clothes next week , then get it downstairs."  That I put my foot down on.  I was doing laundry once a week. Not whenever you demanded it. And don't let me catch you doing loads in between.  You're not wasting my water, gas and detergent just because you were too lazy to bring it downstairs when I was doing it.

Now, Saturday was generally run the kids to sports and activities, cutting the grass, and possibly getting the the grocery shopping for the week.  So it got blown out of the water as far as getting anything fun in.

Sunday morning she would get up early and go to weight watchers.  Meanwhile I got up, go the kids moving, and showering while I made a good breakfast (bacon and eggs, or pancakes, or waffles or breakfast burrito's and such), and got everyone fed, dressed and ready for church.  She would get back in time to eat and the we'd load up in the car and head to church.  And I would offer her "Mom time" meaning that I would take the kids and we go.  Usually out to the Aurora Sportsmen's Club, where we would shoot some trap and some .22LR.  This gave her the opportunity to do whatever she wished.  Scrap-booking, Work-work, take a nap, go shopping, anything she wanted.   And we would be back sometime after it got dark (we could shoot out there until legal sunset.)

And when we got back all hell would break loose.  See, the house was still a mess, and we're getting ready to head back into the work week and your three went off to have fun while leaving me in this pigsty to clean up all your messes, and on and on.  Pointing out that I tried to get them to do their chores on Friday fell on deaf ears and was again told that "Why does it have to done on your schedule?!?!"  Because you turn  into a tweaked out raving bitch on Sunday afternoon because it isn't done.  If you don't like the way I do it, then don't bitch when it doesn't get done.

I hated it.  Here I am trying to be a good father and spend time, good quality bonding time ( and both kids sdid have lots of fun shooting.  It's one sport where age or physical strength doesn't make the difference, it's skill) while trying to give my wife some time to her self.  And all I did was catch hell from her.

So parents.  The most important thing is that you have to be together, you have work as team.  But that's another rant for another time. That's how important that is.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Parenting Techniques

Over on ArmedPoliteSocirrty.com there have been a few threads that been about Parenting, including the one that start off with Parenting and letting your kids play with Toy Guns vs Real Guns.

Now one area the WINO(1) constantly argued about where what could be called parenting "techniques",  so here are I couple I used that would piss her off to no end.  She thought I was a lousy parent when I would use them, so I'm asking The Cancer Ward Brain Trust  for their opinion.

1) The "I'll laugh at you".  She thought this was simply horrible.  Generally it involved the child telling me their "plan".  I would explain the possible consequences (usually some type potential minor injury, a scrape or cut; perhaps merely wounded pride) along with the admonishment of "If you still decide to do "X", then if and when "Y" happens, I will laugh at you.  I'll have to use rubbing alcohol and the Mercurochrome to clean the wound and you know how much that stings and burns and I'll enjoy it. "  My wife thought it was horrible that my child could be standing there as a minor trickle of blood would be running down a knee or elbow, I would point, laugh and say I told you so, before going to get the rubbing alcohol, Mercurochrome and band-aids.  However, I have discovered that using this on my son has now dissuaded him from doing things now that will could cause injuries somewhat above and beyond a minor cut or scrape.  Not that I would laugh at him if he ever walked in with a broken bone, but he doesn't know that.(2)

2) "Wanna Bet?"  Over the years, when there has been a slight difference of opinion as to a potential outcome, I have given my kids the chance to prove either themselves or their theory but putting their money where their mouth is. The amount varies depending on their age and their confidence level in their position.  I do expect and demand to get paid off,  however my "winnings" are always plowed back to the kids in one form or another at a later date.  And I have only lost once. And that was when I bet my son $20 that he could not leave the souvenir B-29 we bought at the National Air & Space museum alone and in the box for a month.   He gave it to me and told me to hide it.  I told him "No" and put it, in the box, on a shelf in his room.  He went through hell that month.  The temptation was overpowering, but at the end of the month the box was still taped shut (it hadn't been tampered with, I checked) and I paid off.  It's a very nice toy and he learned the difference between toys you play with and toys you admire as it still sits on his shelf, aka "unplayed with"  (meaning he takes it down and looks at it, but he doesn't take and run through house and outside with it going "Zooooooommmmmmm, pew, pew, pew, pew" as he dive bombs his army men and then crashes it into the ground like he did the very nice P-47 I had got him a couple of years earlier.)   So again, when I look at my son and say "Wanna Bet?  Or "You willing put money on that?"  He really stops and thinks.  Actually he and my daughter stop and say "Never bet against Dad, he always wins. Except that one time!!!"  Again, he's re-considered his position and it generally causes a change in his course of action.

3) "I know what you're thinking"  I just look at him and say "I wasn't always 46.  I was ten once also.  I know you want to X, Y, and Z.  And if you do X, Y and Z I will do to you what Grandpa did you me, which was A, B, and C.  And if you don't think so, let's call him and he can tell you about it."  And yes, there have been some phone calls where Grandpa tells my son of how he used the Steak and Shake Yard Stick (which he still has and my son has seen) on my backside. My son normally leaves those phone calls looking like  shocked shocked and there's some comment of  "Grandpa was really mean".  To which I reply "Well, I was really dumb sometimes, learn from my mistakes."  And again, he is dissuaded from that/those course of action.

4) "Your Call" or "Sibling Justice"  Having grown up with 4 brothers and 2 sisters, there was some/a lot of "internal policing" and what I call "sibling justice". Like when I tell my son not to shoot his teenage sister (she's 7 years older) with Nerf Guns or Super Soakers.  "You can, but you'll have to survive the beatdown she'll give you when she catches you."  There has been a time or two when I heard my daughter scream my son's name, him hauling ass through the dining room and out the garage door with a Nerf Gun/SuperSoaker in one hand and a big o'l cheese-eating grin on his face, followed shortly thereafter by my extremely pissed off teenage daughter in hot pursuit.  My wife thought it was horrible when I would let them fight(3), but as long as closed fists weren't being used and it didn't get out of hand, I would let them settle things between them.  And generally an hour of less later they would be in one or the others rooms playing a cardgame, boardgame, or some-such together, peacefully.  Whereas if my wife tired to break them up, generally the matter would not be resolved and issue would continue to fester and boil with more yelling, slamming of doors and just all around unpleasantness for hours or even days. 

So what say you?


(1)  WINO=Wife In Name Only
(2) I tried one time to explain to the WINO, this bit of dialogue from Band of Brothers, she just looked at me like I had two heads:
CPT Ronald Spiers: What is it?
1SG Carwood Lipton: Nothing.
CPT Spiers: Well, I'd better get back to Battalion before they disappear. You want to ask me, don't you?
1SG Lipton: Ask you what, sir?
CPT Spiers: You want to know if they're true or not... the stories about me. Did you ever notice with stories like that, everyone says they heard it from someone who was there. But then when you ask *that* person, they say *they* heard it from someone who was there. It's nothing new, really. I bet if you went back two thousand years, you'd hear a couple of centurions standing around, yakking about how Tertius lopped off the heads of some Carthaginian prisoners.
1SG Lipton: Well, maybe they kept talking about it because they never heard Tertius deny it.
CPT Spiers: Well, maybe that's because Tertius knew there was some value to the men thinking he was the meanest, toughest son of a bitch in the whole Roman Legion.
[Turns to leave]
1SG Lipton: Sir? These men aren't really concerned about the stories. They're just glad to have you as our CO. They're happy to have a good leader again.
CPT Spiers: Well, from what I've heard, they've always had one. I've been told there's always been one man they could count on. Led them into the Bois Jacques, held them together when they had the crap shelled out of them in the woods. Every day, he kept their spirits up, kept the men focused, gave 'em direction... all the things a good combat leader does. You don't have any idea who I'm talking about, do you?
1SG Lipton: No, sir.
CPT Spiers: Hell, it was you, First Sergeant. Ever since Winters made Battalion, you've been the leader of Easy Company. Oh, and you're not going to be First Sergeant much longer, First Sergeant.
1SG Lipton: Sir?
CPT Spiers: Winters put you in for a battlefield commission, and Sink approved on your behalf. You should get the official notice in a few days. Congratulations, Lieutenant.
(3) It was really more "wrestling" and Robert could surprisingly hold his against Meghan own most times, when he got caught.  Simply because the chase ended when both were pretty winded and there wasn't much fight left in either.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Since all the cool kids are doing it.

Saw this on Old NFO's and Tam's blog.  Apparently Og started this one. I missed the 100 books one when I was in the hospital, I'll play catch-up with that one later.



But here's my EDC* knife. Yeah, not very tact-i-kewl or high speed.  This is version 3.0 of the Vicotrianox Huntsman the WINO bought me when she went to Switzerland while we were stationed in Germany.  The original, 1.0 got stolen at one of my jobs, I replaced it, only to give 2.0 to the Air and Space Museum in DC during Boy Scout Jamboree Week.  I guess they thought that Robert and I were going to hijack the lunar lander in our Cub Scout Uniforms.  Robert felt bad that I had to surrender my knife and bought me this one. It'll be a very interesting day should someone try to take it from me.

My son has a Mini-Leatherman. Of course, unlike when I was in school and you were some kind of weirdo if you didn't have a Buck Knife, Robert only carries it when we're not going somewhere that will get him taken away to a wussification re-education camp, otherwise it resides in my dresser drawer.   Yes, he got his Whittling Chit in Cub Scouts several years ago.

So what's in your pocket?

 
*Every Day Carry.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The Debt that Never Be Re-Paid

I've supported the Wounded Warrior Project both personally and when I was President of the Aurora Sportsmen's Club through our Veteran's Day events.

You should too.  We owe these people a debt we can never repay.  Go donate now.

Oh, and as if you need a reason, Carteach is giving a away stuff you can win if you donate. 

Why are you still here?   Go.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Still in Limbo

First I'd like to thank everyone that e-mailed me and/or posted comments.  You have no idea what those mean to me.  Thank you.

Second.  We're still in limbo.  I don't think that the doc up at Mayo has all the facts regarding my kidneys and I think that he thinks that if we do the stem cell "right away" he can either save or restore my kidney function.

I think it's a Hail Mary pass at best.

Since I was diagnosed, I've accepted that I'm on a "glide path".  And when I finished full-on chemo last April, I remember the conversation with the oncologist here.  We had "knocked it down"  I wasn't in remission and I wasn't cured.  There was just "less".  And I could do either no or maintenance chemo.  But either way the disease would come back and at that point "the last arrow in the quiver" would be a stem cell transplant.  Unless they came up with some new treatment in the meantime.  That was it.

From talking with my nephrologist then my kidneys were down to about 30% function and I need to decide whether to go on  hemodialysis and peritoneal dialysis.  I choose peritoneal simply because hemodialysis ties you to going to center every other day for 4-5 hour at a time.  Peritoneal is done at home each night while you sleep.  You simply attach yourself to the machine that's about the size of a pair of shoeboxes and dump the fluids out in the morning.  You can still travel and live your life as long as you have a place to plug in the machine each night.

Other then the anemia, the only real affect that this disease has had on my is my kidneys.  It hasn't impacted any other organs or systems, yet. 

So that was "glide path"  Maintenance Chemo.  I knew I "lose" my kidneys and go on dialysis, but even then as long as "nothing else was going wrong", I'd continue with the Maintenance Chemo until it didn't "work", with "not working" being something else going south.

So I figured that since nothing else appeared to be going wrong, that I would probably be on maintenance chemo for years after I started dialysis.

That all changed last week.  But as I sit here and type, I don't think they shared enough info to give me a good recommendation.  I don't want to rush into something only to be told later "We probably should have held off."   I'm not saying I don't want to do it, but I am saying I'm not willing to gamble with my life.  If losing my kidneys will buy me time, then fine, I'm ready to start dialysis.  If you want to take a chance that it *might* work, but take away a future option, well that's a horse of entirely different color.

I want them to look at all my labs for the past year plus and then give me my alternatives and their recommendation.  So more phone calls and follow ups tomorrow.  Maybe I'll just copy this and e-mail it to my docs.  

Oh, and more Gun stuff in the future.  There's been quite few things that have been going on that I need to get off my chest.  Even some fun stuff.
 

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Aside from that Mrs. Lincoln, how was the Play?

Okay, I knew today would be busy.  Made a little tight on the schedule, but hey, I'll go with it.

10am- Appointment with the surgeon who installed the "drain line" in my gut.  "Hey doc, it's still leaking fluid around the hole.  A pinkish/yellowish fluid.  I change the dressing twice a day and it's saturated.  It's sore and tender"   Doc- " Looks fine, Not infected and that's normal, just keep changing the dressing and if it's still leaking in two weeks come into the office and I'll look at it."     Sorry, I don't think I should be leaking.  I like having all my fluids inside me.  I'm funny that way.

11am - Appointment with GP.  Now this will be fun.  See they put me on Steroids when I was in the hospital.  I'm (am/was) supposed to take them for either one or four days after chemo (they couldn't decide), however, these makes my blood sugar go crazy.  (as in the high 300's). They gave me a starter kit with a Freestyle Freedom Lite tester and a weeks worth of strips, finger pokey things and needles.  I used four days worth while in the Hospital.  The day I got out I went to Wal-mart and turned in the prescription "Be about an hour".  So I wandered around W-M for an hour.  (No P-O-W sightings to report).  Now my Oncologist wrote the script for the Insulin (Lovemir (sp)) Pen, and the GP wrote one for the testing supplies.  (Right hand meet left hand) Come back an hour later.  "There's a problem, we've called your doc.  Can we reach you at this number?"  Sure, fine, call me when it's ready and I'll come back and get it.  I can go another day or two.  Well next day, no call, so I call the doc (GP). They have a new call center which is designed so that they never have to actually talk to the patients, because, that's just ooooh Ick.  Anyway, I leave a message.  The next day (and yes for those following along, I'm out of test supplies at this point), I get a call from a nurse.  She's not sure where I can get plutonium, but is pretty sure that Walgreens doesn't carry it.  Oh, that's not the message I left. Insulin, Test Supplies, Wal-mart.  Okay, got it now.  She'll call me back. 

She doesn't.

Which puts me in the GP's office at 10:55am, (having filed out the same four forms with all my Insurance info again, for the 87th time this month.  Seriously, it that all some of you do is copy blank forms for me to fill out.  And I'm going to wear my insurance card around my neck from now on.)

My phone rings:

507 area code....  (I live in the 630/312/847/708 area code.  507 I don't recognize)

"Hello"

"Hi, this is Jamie at the Mayo Clinic Stem Cell Transplant Center.  When can you come in for your transplant?"

Whabbaaawhoba?'

'This is Jamie at the Mayo Stem Cell Transplant Center, we need to schedule your transplant, when can you be here?"

"Wait, what?!?!  Since, Errrrr, ummm, what, hold on.."

Just for clarification, Jamie's tone came across as "If you're not here tomorrow, you will die!! Die!!!! DIE!!!!!."

"Hey, this is news to me.  In fact, I'm literally walking back to the exam room of my GP office's as we speak.  Can I get back to you, because no one has really talked to me about this yet."

"Okay, can I give you a call tomorrow to get this scheduled (again with the if you delay one more second, you will die tone of voice)

"Yes, fine, please."

So now I have even more to discuss with him. 

Starting with the fact that "NONE OF MY DOCTORS ARE FUCKING TALKING TO EACH OTHER !!!!   OR TO FUCKING ME FOR THAT MATTER !!!

He tries to go get my oncologist on the phone, but he's not in today.  (Wait, it gets better).  He also can't get my nephrologist. 

He checks with the nurse and the insulin problem is that my insurance doesn't cover this meter/test kit.  (It's crap like this that makes people start taking fucking hostages.)  So he write a script for a different tester, but then give a free sample packet of the "wrong" kind of kit.  Whatever.
 
I'm not doing well at this point.  I'm barely able to hold it together.  My world literally just blew up.  And I can tell I'm sucking big wind.  Last week, my hemoglobin was 9.6. Which is bad.  I should get Aranesp when it gets below 10, but because there wasn't an order for it last week, the nurse wouldn't give it to me, (nor did she go check) after I pointed it out to her on my lab results.  "Hey, I'm below 10, I get a shot!!"

When I would walk my heart would be on fire, my leg muscles burned and cramped, not charlie horses, but the muscles cramp and pull so hard and so tight, it feels like they are being ripped off my bones, for minutes at a time.  It's an indescribable pain, a paralying pain.  I can only lay there on the floor in pain until it passes.  So physically, this week has sucked.  I'd get dizzy if I moved to fast or climbed up the stairs from the basement.   I couldn't get enough air. And then collapse onto the floor in muscle ripping pain.

Fed up, I say screw it and head to the Oncologist.  If I can just make it there, I'll get some Aranesp and I'll be able to breathe.  Yeah, I'll just live under the covers until I wake up late Wednesday, but I can see a finish line.  Oncologist, treatment, home, sleep.  Dog, you're on your own for the next day.  I'll leave the back door open for you and feed you when I get up to go to the bathroom

I get settled in and talk to the nurse.  Heather.  G-d takes care of drunks and fools and thus I am dually blessed.  Heather came from Mayo.  She worked in the Stem Cell Transplant Center.   Finally, I ask questions, lots of questions, not enough questions.  I need to know what will happen to me, step by step, how it works, where I stay.

Really I'll need a caregiver(s) to be with me for the 100 days I'm up there.  No, it's just me and the dog.  No, I don't have family.  I mean I do, but my parents are in their 80's my mom is deaf and my dad blind, they can barely take care of each other and sometimes my dog.  Yeah, I'm going to have to setup a roster, a schedule, recruit family and friends, I need to call my insurance company, whadda mean I need to rent a place up there for three months, I'm there.  You mean I can't leave?  Come home?  What about after?  A year, really, no sick kids, no sick people, NO HUNTING!?!?! 

I had my fall planned.  Savnnah, Georgia; Hunting and Camping with my son. Two Weeks of Deer Camp, Taking a couple of new people hunting and shooting.  I just wanted to make to December. 

If only I could have made to December. 

No treatment today because with them wanting to schedule a Stem Cell Transplant, you don't know the timing.  Fuck me.

"Draw blood."

"I said "Draw Blood", I want labs done.  I know my hemoglobin is low and I'm hurting."

"Please draw blood and check my hemoglobin.  I can't breathe."

They do and it comes back 8.8. 

I knew it was really low.

"What do you mean you can't give me Growth Factor (Aranesp) if they are going to do a stem cell ?" 

"They aren't going to do it tomorrow and it I don't get my hemoglobin up, I won't make it to Mayo for a Stem Cell.  Where's Patti (the head nurse)!!!"

Patti takes one look at me and says "Give him the shot". 

I get my Aranesp.  I get some answers.  But now I need to find people that can go to Rochester and spend some time with me.   So if you're not doing anything and want to spend some one-on-one time with yours truly.  I'd love the company.   (I think my insurance company will cover some/most/all of caregiver expenses, but I'll find out when I cal them tomorrow.) 

You won't have to do anything but 1) be there 2) call 911 if needed.

Thanks for reading.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Just call me Dax

Like Jadzia Dax in the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine series I now have something residing in my gut.  It's my new port for my Peritoneal Dialysis port. 

It will take about a month for the wound to scar over and heal.  Once that happens I can start nightly dialysis.

However,  I may not have to start so soon.  I talked to the oncologist about going back and adding Cyroxin to the chemo mix when I start back up next week.  That might help the kidney function, now that most of the fluid is off.  I want to try that for as long as it works. 

He's still concerned about the Light Kappa Chain to Light Lambda Chain ratio, but he's talking to the docs at Mayo and seeing if my idea is worth trying.  He's also got to talk to the Nephrologist, but I'm hopeful.

If all goes well, (and it should) I'll be out of here tomorrow.  I'll rescue my dog from the neighbors and work on finding a name for my new best friend that's installed in my gut.  Life is always interesting.   And I am blessed and privileged to have such exceptional friends.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

The Next Step

Well tomorrow I'm scheduled for surgery.  Nothing major, they just install the port that I will use for dialysis.  I get put under and the port or line gets install under my peritoneum which will be used as the filter.  It's something that I know has been coming, I just didn't expect to get here that soon.

Peritoneal Dialysis will allow me to still travel to Indy and other places.  I can still hunt. Camping will just have to be somewhere where there's power for the machine I'll have to use each night.  Fortunately that means that I can still Deer Hunt.

It will be just one more thing to add to my life.  And it gives me time. 

Which is all I ask for and all I need.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

On the Way To Central DuPage Hospital

I called the nephrologist today.  We're setting up an admission for the hospital for today, once they have room..

I'll be in for a couple of days while they administer heavy doses of diuretics to get the excess fluids out of me.  So it looks like I'll miss the Dove Season Opener on Thursday, but should be out (and in better shape) for the Cub Scout Campout this Saturday/Sunday.   I'm all packed and am bringing the laptop and Firefly DVD's.  The dog is going to the neighbors to stay, while I'm in.

I had my Fall planned out through the end of November.  I had a clear path.  Now, it's all chaos.

It feels like the end of Serenity (the movie):

          ZOE
          Sir, we have a green light.
          Inspection's pos and we're clear
          for upthrust.

          MAL
          Think she'll hold together?

          ZOE
          She's tore up plenty. But she'll fly true.

          MAL
          Make sure everything's secure.
          Could be bumpy.

          ZOE
          Always is.
         

And they weren't talking about the ship.