Tag Archives: Family

Age to Age

When my first grandchild was born, I found it interesting how you can love a newborn so much.  Throughout his life, we’ll share DNA, and the same last name.

He’ll carry our family name down the generational rivers entering a sea of names.  Maybe it’s just a man thing, but that’s downright satisfying!

I looked back at a flash drive of old family pictures that included a scan of an article my grandfather wrote in 1974.  My Grandpa is my grandson’s Great, Great Grandfather.

He only had a 6th grade education, so to write a life summary and family history is phenomenal!  It was exhilarating to read! Continue reading Age to Age

Like a Verdict

My wife, Janet, had surgery two weeks ago to remove a kidney tumor. The doctor said it’s an 85% chance of being malignant.

The last two weeks have been fast, and slow, lightening quick, yet forever.

Yesterday was the surgery follow up appointment, complete with the pathology report. It was also Janet’s birthday.

Strange, really. You find out about continued life, one way or the other, on a day designated to celebrate life.

The doctor came in quickly, and asked Janet how she was doing.  He sat down.  I asked to record the doctor on my phone so we could listen and rehash as much as we needed to later.

He agreed. I pushed the record button. He asked if I was ready, and took a deep breath…

Continue reading Like a Verdict

5 Course Meal Celebration

Last Friday I took my wife Janet out on the town! A five-course dinner date! I know! Right!?

But we live in the oldest town in Texas, and there’s not a great deal of five star restaurants in Nacogdoches, Texas. So we created our own “fine dining” experience in a mobile, drive around way.

I wrote down twenty restaurants and fast food joints up and down our hometown main drag. Each place was cut to its own little strip, and I put them all in a styrofoam cup that had all 5 courses scribbled on the outside. Janet blindly reached in the cup and pulled the first slip for the first course.

It was Subway. Janet objected. She said Subway had the most expensive drinks in town, so she wanted to go somewhere else. Eventually, she acquiesced, and we ordered one large half and half tea, two straws.

The second course was Bottle Cap Alley for appetizers. A quarter mile drive and we were there, but they didn’t have many choices. Basically, we settled for fried onion rings. Besides, the next course was vegetables, so we could get something healthy then.

The third course drawn, however, was another fast food place, Taco Bueno! My five-course meal deal idea was falling apart.

We had to be creative, but guacamole with fried chips was as close as we could get to vegetables.

The fourth draw for the main course drew a groan from both of us, and then the laughter. Dominos Pizza!

While they made the extra thin crust vegetable pizza, we munched on the chips, guacamole and onion rings. After that, the pizza tasted like saltine crackers with onions and tomato sauce on it.

There’s a bloated, clog up your arteries with grease feeling that was kicking in, but we were committed to a 5 course meal…

Dessert! Should’ve started there! A quick draw from the cup and it was Whataburger, the Texas standard for fast food burgers. It was a no brainer choice!

But ice cream and milkshakes don’t mix with lactose intolerance, and the scrumptious home style cinnamon rolls were 580 calories a piece! We settled on apple pies that were only 200 calories each. Did I mention they were fried?

It was fun though, and totally random! We’ll do it again, but not tonight.

Tonight Janet will be in the hospital.

We’re in Houston. At this very moment, Janet is in surgery to remove cancer from a kidney. She was diagnosed three weeks ago.

I’m scribbling to redirect my emotions, blind my thoughts, dull the heightened awareness that the future has changed.

How much, and to what extent it’s changed, we won’t know until the pathology report comes in next week.

If all goes well, this will be a one and done surgery.

If it goes really, really well, next Friday we’ll be celebrating the 15% chance that the cancer is benign.

That’ll be worth a five course meal for sure!

A Heartbeat Away

Between almost awake and half asleep, my brain registers discomfort.  Oh no! An earache!  I had so many earaches as a kid and hate ‘em. Just hate ‘em!

The throbbing’s the worst. Each heartbeat bangs on the ear drum.  No matter how you twist or turn, you literally feel, and hear, every beat of the heart.  Like a marching band, the regular beat on the drum creates a disconcerting percussion concert.

It’s fingernails down the blackboard!

I try to go back to sleep, but things on the “to do” list start cluttering the mind.  Too tired to get up, too conscious to sleep, several hours of nothingness tick away in the dark with only my thoughts and the striking of the ear drum with each beat of the heart.

In a way, it’s fascinating.  The never seen heart constantly pumps life in rhythm.  The body, soul and spirit, it rises, and falls, in a life dance with the ever present heartbeat on the ear drum. Continue reading A Heartbeat Away

To See The Way

A college student in an electric wheel chair was moving up the sidewalk beside our local university.

She controlled her chair with one hand while tapping a cane back and forth in front of her with the other.  She was partially paralyzed, and on top of it, blind! Yet there she was, out in public, on her own, making her way from place to place!  Amazing!!

I respect her immensely for doing what seems impossible to me!

She reminds me of a blind friend named Randy I knew in college.  Randy was 7 or 8 years older than me and had lost his sight his senior year of high school when he caught a rare virus. Continue reading To See The Way

Playhouse to Lighthouse

The tenth grandchild is coming in October! Can’t wait! Grandkids are great!

Last year I built a swing set for the grandkids, then a fire truck (you can read that here).

The boys had something, but JJ, daughters, daughter-in-laws, and even granddaughters said they wanted something for the girls, specifically, a playhouse. Playhouse foundation

~Challenge accepted.~

I drew up plans for a little 10’ x 10’ playhouse, bought the materials and started work.

It’s insulated, with lights, porch lights and a plug for a heater or fan powered by an extension cord.

Like everything that comes from your hands though, I know where I messed up.  I see my mistakes, things others, besides building professionals, may miss.                     img_0633

But I see them.

I shake it off.  Remind myself that the goal isn’t perfection, even if I want it.  Demanding perfection, whether in a playhouse or a child’s life and behavior, destroys the goal. Continue reading Playhouse to Lighthouse

Just Two Little Letters — 2

~Disclaimer: This is the second satirical post and only meant to entertain, maybe even cause a grin, snicker or smile.  The first post is here.  And yes, there are ALWAYS exceptions.  For the record, no words were injured in the writing of this post, so please don’t injure the writer. (Wink, wink.) ~

It’s weird! Men and women have fun differently!  Granted, there’s no hard and fast rule, but generally the pendulum swings two ways.

Men feel friendship with other guys by doing stuff together.  Here goes:

Two men. They get up at 3:15 AM in cold weather, and meet 3:45 AM sharp at a gas station.  They go inside, fill their thermoses with coffee and get in a truck together.

“Good morning”, one says.

“Morning”, says the other. Continue reading Just Two Little Letters — 2

You Come From Good Stock

Three months ago. Saturday. 8:04 AM. Work rings. Never good. Answer phone.

“Dee’s mom called. His wife is a nurse and woke up and heard him gurgling. She called 9-1-1 and started CPR. They don’t know how long he was without oxygen. He’s at the ER now, but non-responsive.”

My heart sunk. We’d worked together 23 years. Dee’s a quality guy. I knew then I’d never see him again, not the same.  At minimal, brain damage from oxygen deprivation would forever change him.

~~Something awakened Dee’s wife, Alanda, at 6:15 AM.  She heard Dee gurgling from fluid filling his lungs. She flipped on the light, called 9-1-1 and started CPR.

Alanda saved Dee’s life. He’d crossed death’s doorway, but at the threshold, Alanda grabbed the tip of his little toe toenail and began pulling him back.

Five minutes later paramedics arrived. They took over CPR and used an AED.

One electrical shock to the heart. Two. Continue reading You Come From Good Stock

The Other Table

I saw a co-worker and his wife in a social setting.  The man turned to his wife, “Tell Jeff the story you told me.”

Her face lit up as if she remembered something important.  She began a story from the high school cafeteria where my kids went.

She told me about a young man who doesn’t “fit in”.  She said the student being picked on wasn’t popular, struggles in school, and in all reality, is not very socially skilled.  By all accounts, he’s a little odd.  Add it up, and he’s an easy target.

The young man’s primary defense mechanism is to blend in like a social chameleon, then avoid others.  That’s impossible during school days when he would unwilling become the center of attention.  He’d shrink alone, virtually defenseless, and silently absorb any words, jokes or laughter directed his way. Continue reading The Other Table

Life Changes

One of the most consistent things in life is that it changes.

Change constantly swirls around the atmosphere of life in the spiritual, emotional and physical spheres.

Change allows sunshine, and rain, to fall below.

It’s not all bad, not all good.

It is, however, inevitable.

Yet change, maybe just for me, is usually difficult and often seems unkind, unremitting. Continue reading Life Changes