Saturday, September 28, 2013

And now for something completely different...Bipolar Stereo Equipment!

Before I get going, take a look at this:

OK, cue the camel:  Guess what stuff this is, guess what stuff this is.....

That's right! Bipolar Stereo equipment!  Now someone in some marketing office somewhere came up with this, or maybe it is just really niche marketing, but the fact that a company like Best Buy would cater to the manic depressives makes me proud that I turned to them to debug myWindows machine. And here I was telling the cashier about how I only use Macs, but I have a few files on the Dell (like all my MRIs, and also Chapter 9 of my mystery novel) that I should have backed up, feeling the invisible face slap of techies everywhere.  I'll have it back in a week or so (the Dell, not the face slap).

Anyway, back to the picture.  The cashier  and I did a few riffs on what was piled behind up there. Would you buy a product that would:

1. Might work or might not, depending on its mood.  May just stay in bed.
2. Play Helter Skelter over and over, no matter how many times you click Forward. "Wassa matter man? that is a great frackin song!
2.a Yeah, I dropped the base line! What of it? Lots of stereos dropped their bass and they're fine. What's wrong with you? Why don't you come to a meeting sometime?
3. Cry at the insertion of any Michael Bolton CD, for plenty of reasons.
4. Call its mother if every Frank Zappa is played and its JUST FINE, thanks for not checking in more, Mom.  Its in Zappa denial.
5. Refuse to turn off, even if you swear you will unplug it.  That's you being mean to me.
6. Do all kind of things you won't understand, but gotta accept.
7. May leave at any time for rehab, not that you care. But do not look for any other equipment while I'm gone! I'm sorry!

So you know, there are challenges, but on good days the music is truly amazing.  The cashier and I had a laugh over it, and then she said "I should not make fun of them." I told her that I do it all the time.

So while you're pondering the bipolar stereo, I'll move on the MS decision.  It involves this:

and this:

The lawnmower died today.  It didn't have the decency to wait until October when all things Martin dies.  The mower hung in for seventeen years, and had been ecstatic, I'm sure, when selected by me to complete the grass cutting of our tiny yard AND had been selected over the electric start auto drive super duper baby one that my in-laws had for their yard which was the size of South Dakota.  I thought the little Sears one could handle it and it did until this morning.  I'll take it in to be serviced at Sears and hope for the best.

Jackie was about to go for a walk this afternoon when she strolled into the front hall and saw the front door covered with ants. Flying ants.  This is the second invasion in the last month and I haven't heard a word from Vladimir Putin about getting weapons.  The invasion was thwarted, and we cleaned as we did before.  Half way through the pickup, Jackie just looked at me with her deep eyes and said "That's it. We need to go."

The ant invasion happens every year only it happened further out in the yard and I would do what I can and let nature take its course (they're flying ants - they'll fly away).  Further lawn upkeep would hold things at bay.  More trips to Home Depot, more stuff to lift and spread and dig, and I loved it.  I fall into my chair exhausted after a good day outside.  I now fall exhausted into my chair after brushing my teeth.  I can do a few things (see my recent blog on my first walker) but relax time is built in for everything.  Friday I ran some errands and wrapped up at three o'clock.  I was walking around the bookstore and at 3 PM just felt the energy go right down the MS drain.  So home I went.

This is the the world as it is now, and Jackie and I are starting the preliminary negotiations to prepare to move that world someplace else.  No worries, you can come too.  I hope you do.

5000 hits. Thank you. More soon.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

My First Walker...

First, put some Jan and Dean music on (Google them or, if you're near a Starbucks [and who isn't?] buy the CD - in the cutout bin by the baristas).  And while you're listening to Surf City, I want to show my new and improved, totally cherry, transportation.  In MS World, this is a big step for us.

So here's my new little deuce coupe....


Yeah, she’s cool, I know.  This baby can pick up and hold the just purchased three bags of mulch after I pull them out of the back of the SUV, one at a time, and then after lugging each bag one and half feet, drop them right into the bin and I’ve only knocked it over once!  After entertaining the neighborhood by picking up the mulch again, lifting it two feet up again, and letting the bags then tumble back into the bin, and I am ready.  After acknowledging the support of the neighbors, which was to stand on their lawn and watch, I grab my beauty by two hands, lift up the back, and we glide up the driveway.  I push, direct the wheels, bounce off the dirt near the driveway as I stumble, and then reach the sidewalk!  I am now no more than ten feet from where I want to be.

But I’m pooped from doing that so I go back in the house, grab a cold drink, and watching another “Breaking Bad.”

This is why I am still doing yard work that I used to finish in May. That and the weather.  Since I wrote the first words of this paragraph it has basically rained continuously and any break in the drenching is used to dash out, get the mail or newspaper, and just before getting back in the house, seeing the bags of mulch fermenting near the perennials.

But I have faith the sun will reappear since it is not due to explode for a few more billion years.  And I shall take my First Walker by the hand grips and we will continue the work.

My goal is to have the yard work done before the first snow fall, which around here can be early October.  Sometimes I wonder why I do this, and I know the time is coming when I won't be able to, just ...not.....yet., but I still think this is for my father.  My yard will never be as nice as his was,  but I do so enjoy the time when I sit on the deck, beverage in one hand and book in the other, and see what was accomplished here. Not bad.

And my Walker can fill in as transportation when the time comes.

I still am working on the engine part.  It's my little deuce coupe,  you don't know what I got.  If you do, please tell me, and let me know when I can get out of this thing.

Thanks for reading.  More soon.  Heading to 5000.

Monday, September 2, 2013

One of the great things about Multiple Sclerosis is...

(I bet you thought there wouldn't be anything here.  If I wrote like that, I could get a job at Hallmark, as long as they gave me a blankie and pillow for "thinking sessions.")

Anyway, when the MS really kicks in down the line, you know that you've got just so much energy to work with each day, and each day is different in people contact, stress, and commitments.  You have to think low and then be pleasantly surprised that you've lasted into the late afternoon without looking like a Walking Dead cast member, like Milton here:

Actually, this was more my look after any meeting with a former Commissioner of Social Services who took your tax money and ran (you're welcome).  Otherwise, for the MS crowd, this might be us around 
oh,  three P.M. any Wednesday to Friday in the workaday world.

For those of us "retired" people, I can normally hold out pretty well if the day is not too loaded.  Otherwise I just mainline lattes.  Last Friday, family was dropping by and there would be a birthday celebration, and dinner out. I kept things cool, just nice and quiet, but getting too quiet and its blankie/pillow/nap time, even before the Hoda and Kathie Lee show starts, so I would do small things to keep active and once company came, be sort of in neutral.  My wife was concerned that was just going to "sit there."  It is always an option.  But I merely listened in to the conversation, glad to see the group, and we moved on to dinner.

Still idling, I read the menu, and nothing much struck me, but I ordered and sat back in the patio chairs at at outside venue in Saratoga Springs.  I do my level best to avoid Health/Horses/History town during the summer months as there are too many many tourists (and a good supply of "Those People" by which I mean wealthy and they know it boors who believe they own this area. Their wealth, real and external, is flaunted with BMWs, loud shirts, and loafers with white socks and they are also are glad to remind you who "pays your salary." End of rant.  Besides, if I was wealthy, I'd still be here with MS and white socks and loafers, but mine are cool).  So when company comes, they usually ask to go up to Saratoga so there we were.  I had a pear cider ale and a yum sandwich.  Nice job of ordering, me, I said.

At the entrance of restaurant a couple stood waiting for a table, and I realized that I knew the gentleman from my days working with Milton up there.  He had worked with me on the last project I begged and begged for and maybe that assignment was tossed at me as a bone, but we did make it work until I had to leave, and I was quite proud of it, and my staff.  The gentleman was a kind and considerate boss and even every now and then we did clash, things worked.

He retired a short time after my group began and it seemed I was the heir apparent to his job,  but it did not turn out that way, and probably for the best as MS was already invading my brain.

But on that nice last Friday afternoon I watched the couple make their way to their table and I just looked over now and as we continued our dinner.  I could feel the energy drain starting as the clock moved on toward five P.M.  The couple finished their meal, and got up. Then he saw me (you know that feeling - Did he see me? Do I want him to? What do I say? How can I-)

"Tom, how are you?"

There he was. Hands shaken, families introduced, want are you doing? I am not sure how far the DSS chatter box on old supervisors goes, so I just said I'd been busy writing, etc.

As they started to leave, I called to him.

"Warren, thank you for the best two years of my working life."

He stood there for a second, astonished, and then smiled and joined his wife.

And that is what MS gave me a chance to do that day, a chance to acknowledge to someone what their efforts had meant to me, and, I hope, the staff we'd put together.  I hope there are more days like that, and I know that time is short.  I got to think, slowly, ponder, what would I say?

And I said it.

And then it was time for cake.

Here's to you, Milton. And really, our Commissioner was more like this:

And another great thing about MS is, I've already got that shuffling Walking Dead step perfected. Look, just a little makeup, and easy-peezey zombie. Just waiting for that phone call.  

Thanks for reading. More soon. Heading to 5000.