Saturday, September 11, 2010
Joe Varsalone died yesterday. He was only 91, but had been in the hospital for the last two weeks. He had leukemia, and had been getting a transfusion every four weeks for the last two years. Murray Smith called with the news, talking pretty fast. Murray is a contemporary of Joe, and Murray keeps telling people that he is going to live to be 100, so I think he might be a little worried. I just tell them Iím probably good for another twenty years. That way, I donít have a fixed date to die, which takes the pressure off.
Anyhow, I used to wait tables at the Country Breakfasts with Joe, and he was an old time Kiwanian who used to do the 50-50 every week until he got too feeble to make it to the meetings. The viewing is today from 4 to 6, and the service is at six. I donít like funerals much, but Iím going to this one for Joeís family.
When I was at Case, I lived in a funeral home one year with two other guys. We had the third floor to ourselves, which was like a big apartment except for the missing kitchen. All we had to do was to be sure one of us was there from 6 PM until 6 AM every day and to answer the phone Ė correctly.
One of the funerals had a rich woman laid out for three days, and there was only one visitor. She had been 94. I learned that from the visitor, who had been her maid. When I asked her why there werenít any other visitors, she said that all of the family and friends were dead. It reminded me of the old Classical Greek ideal Ė to die immediately after you crowning achievement. That always bothered me because I didnít know when I had hit my peak, and I donít mind retirement anyhow.
The bottom line is this; Joe needs to have some mourners to make his family feel like he is missed.
Friday, September 10, 2010
Between me and the dogs I walked 5.24 miles today, and my pedometer reads15487 right now. I get a little envious of the young guys building muscle, but everyone has the body and situation that they have, and you have to live with it. My joints are shot, but Iím able to keep going through a combination of the food I eat and the supplements I take as well as the activities I do.
I tried some of the weight lifting exercises during rehab, and ended up with a recurrence of a problem with a herniated disk in my neck. The weights that caused the trouble were two Danskin dumbbells set at eight pounds each, and using them soon kept me from sleeping for a few weeks again. Thatís not even a beginning weight for any normal person, but it was too much for me, so I stick with the back exercises from my neurologist, the big rubber bands, and a few calisthenics from my youth. You would never know that I used to belong to a gymnastic fraternity, or spent summers in a steel mill and as a hod carrier. Now I canít even ride an exercise bike, but I still can walk (with orthotics to pamper my bunions). Itís a little depressing to read about guys running three miles (five kilometers) in 20 minutes when it takes me about an hour to walk that far, but at least Iím still making the distance. Iím going to try jumping rope to see if I can survive that. My focus is on functional fitness Ė just to keep going and cut my own grass.
Everyone has limitations, and the only thing you can do is to figure out how to get the task done, no matter what disadvantages you have. Then, when you succeed, you get to feel good.
Thursday, September 09, 2010
I weighed in tonight and gained 4.25 pounds since last Thursday, which surprised me a little. I'm still in leeway, but getting close to the top. Then I thought about it, and realized it was probably the potato chips, corn chips, and commercial salsa I had with four Old Milwaukee NA yesterday. I remember thirty years ago when I mentioned that drinking beer always made me heavier the next day, and a nurse scolded me and told me that beer makes you lose weight because it's a diuretic. I tried to explain it to her, but she had read a book.
When I drink, I eat. Lots. Every beer I drank on my way home from work went with one bag of potato chips, and sometimes a bowl of chili too. The oil from the potato chips slowed down the beer's absorption and let me drive, if not safely, at least without accidents or close calls. The weight gain was probably due to the salt on the chips or popcorn, but it was definitely there. Saturday morning was always a heavy day 30 or 40 years ago.
Our son-in-law says everything is going well still for the youngest daughter. She has been counting calories since grade school, and was doing well until the first pregnancy. Then she gained some, and lost less than she gained. It was the same story for all four pregnancies, and she started talking about bariatric surgery 10 years ago. Various doctors have done what they could, and it took them many months to prepare her for this, so I hope it finally will make some difference. She thinks it will add 10 years to her life expectancy, and the rest of the family is doing their best to help her. The other two kids want to do something to show support, but are waiting to see what she will accept. Jim wanted to bring flowers today, but she said her allergies were bothering her and forbid him from bringing flowers - so the other two can't send them either.
Wednesday, September 08, 2010
Our youngest daughter showed up at 5 AM for her lap-band surgery this morning. The BW was more nervous than the daughter, and when I came back from my walk she was up and pacing. In the end we went shopping, first to Costco, then to Dillardís. Then we had to walk to the other end of the mall to Rack Shoes. She found what she wanted at each store, but didnít buy anything. I offered lunch out, but she wanted to come home.
Our son-in-law had left a message that the surgery went well, and the daughter is in recovery. The doctor is pleased and there were no difficulties. He promised to call later -- after eight. After that, the BW settled down to having some salsa and chips for lunch. Now weíre waiting another couple of hours for a live conversation because we were out shopping when the first call came Ė around 11 AM.
The only thing left to worry about now is a quick and full recovery without complications.
Tuesday, September 07, 2010
We had another Kiwanis meeting this morning and read the list of proposed officers for the third time, and it looks as if Iíll be the treasurer for one more year. To celebrate I put the Metropolitan Advertising money and cash for two Entertainment Books in the bank, and was authorized to pass out two refund checks for receipts that I gave to our secretary. Then there was a lot of other business, and I need to plan for 150 customers at the Lutheran Church this month.
Today is the BWís birthday and our 53rd wedding anniversary. Annie sent a bunch of old pictures attached to an e-mail instead of flowers, which was more impressive to the BW than flowers. Unfortunately, everyone looks so young in the pictures itís a tiny bit depressing.
In the preliminary plans, the BW wanted first to go to Clearwater beach for a fish house, then decided on a place in Dunedin for lunch or supper. Then today it was the beach for a while, but really it has been flat on her back for most of the day, and I hope she makes it to go anywhere. The shot in her hip didnít seem to do the trick, or her back is really bad. Itís still early, but I may just bring home some take-out if she doesnít improve.
The day before yesterday we had a short thunderstorm and a tree that I hadnít notices was dead decided to fall down. It was in our neighborís yard to the east, and it wound up across the fence and filling the side yard behind the garage. After I came back from the bank I started cutting it up for the trash man, who shows up around 1:00 today. It didnít take long until I realized that I didnít need hand pruners Ė the whole thing was dry and brittle, and I just broke all the branches up to about an inch in diameter by holding them in two hands, or snapping over my leg if they were too big. I put them in a leftover 20 gallon trash can that is intended to store water in case of a hurricane, and carried three cans out to the dumpster, which I had put on the curb last night after forgetting about the tree. Fortunately it was only the main branch, and just about five inches at the base, so it wasnít too bad. The third can had all the stuff that I cut up with a chain saw, and I did walk slowly with it. The heavy stuff on top pushed down the trash on the bottom, and it all went in OK, and by two oíclock, when I came home again, the can was empty. I really like the new garbage service. The yard is clean again, and the container is empty.
Now that I realize that the rest of the tree is dead, the grass will like it, but I'll miss the shade.
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