Posted in Family

A Blast of the Past #161: Rip Cord

The RipCord has become a tradition, one we didn’t miss two seasons ago when we toured half the Cedar Fair Parks. But working at Worlds of Fun made it hard to go to the Rip Cord last year; we missed out.

But this earlier one from 2013 has fun shots, and also remembers the local frogs as well.

Posted in Family, Social Issues


Greetings! Those of you who have followed this blog, for various reasons, may have seen the post I did in March 2018 when I edited my regular schedule for the postings on various days of the week. You may also have noticed that my daily posting fell apart this past year due to the irregularities of my life and health. On March 1, 2108 I announced the start of my Sabbatical. With the beginning of 2019 I have determined that sabbatical to be over and as of tomorrow will be starting a new and slightly revised blog schedule.

One change is that on Mondays I will no longer be writing about fitness, but health, which can mean fitness, but touch a lot of other subjects, mostly personal but also linking to whatever level of health I choose to make it.

But the biggest change is going to be on Tuesdays. The day is going to be a review of items of interest I found in blogs and other places on the internet over the past week.

  • Sunday: Great Hymns of the Faith — I am working my way through the hymn book of my childhood. I put up the text, and record and mp3 of me playing and singing (sometimes with other family members) the hymn.
  • Monday: Health — Discussion of health and fitness topics related to my own personal journey or observations I make about health issues around me.
  • Tuesday: The Swift Précis – Bits of Blogs and Items of Note from the Internet.
  • Wednesday: Great Hymns of the Faith — Another installment of the series I mentioned on Sunday
  • Thursday: A Look Ahead. –– A list of interesting events going on and coming up that I know of and may be involved in.
  • Friday: A Blast of the Past — Putting up pictures from the family photo albums, with reflections on them and my file.
  • Saturday: Reflections — The open mic day to comment on any topic I choose to, from any field. A combination editorial/essay/apologietics piece.

But today, of course, is Saturday, which makes it a reflection day. The past year was to be a sabbatical between one job and another, between one career and another. But by now I have decided I have had enough of careers. What I have wanted is a life. Careers have blocked my life, have segmented me into ways that others want things.

This past year has not gone precisely the way I would have chosen. There are a lot of things I would rather had not happened. Yet I am glad that I had this past year, to actually have a life.

There have been struggles getting my two offspring launched into their lives, and I hope they find lives, and not careers. There was the time I was dangerously close to making the same mistake, in seeing a workplace as a career/life, but Worlds of Fun quickly disabused my mistaking them for a family or a life — while I enjoyed my experience there overall, Shelby that one day made it very clear to me that Worlds of Fun is just a job. One just has to buck it up and do what one needs to. I hated what she did that day and thank her for it.

So I am no longer searching for a career. I will work, and have jobs, but the need to have a long-term job is no longer of importance to me. Having a life is.

2018 was also the year I almost died. People didn’t take me seriously when I said that, and I don’t think they do even now. I keep getting asked if I am alright. The answer is NO, I am not alright. I am still having issues that the medical profession will not take seriously, and keeps deflecting into other areas instead of paying attention to the things I need to tell them. I am not even sure that my family always takes me seriously in the times and ways that I insist are needed. But that, ultimately, is life. You aren’t taken seriously unless you fit within the framework of what people expect.

Well, I am not in the framework of what people expect, and I am going to continue to not be in that framework, and people are going to continue to not take me seriously.

And I am going to continue to have a life, instead of a career, instead of a straight jacket.


Posted in Family, Reviews

Miscellaneous Paint

Every type of job needs its own type of paint.

In looking at the house, I thought it would be good to paint lanes in our driveway, marking where it is okay for people to park, and the no parking zones needed to ensure we and the neighbors who share our driveway, can always get out of our garages.

But what type of paint is it? My online reseach goes into sealants, like the driveway probably needs to be sealed. But then you have to get a paint that can bond to the sealant on the driveway. Not sure my online research makes that very clear.

Looking at our basement, I want to clean the stone foundation on the inside, and paint it in some cheery, slightly neutral, light-enhancing color. But to do that it looks like we should do a deep clean of the stones for mold and mildew, and then prime, and then 2 or 3 more coats of paint to have the walls properly paintend and treated for moisture.

Hopefully going to the Home Depot, or Loew’s will find someone able to give us a good instruction on this.

Posted in Family, Fitness, Reviews, Social Issues

2018: The Year I Almost Died

That, actually, is a headline all of us could legitimately use for every year we lived in and didn’t die. The truth is, we don’t know all the small and large things happening around us that brought us just the smallest distance from death, both accidental and intentional, by people’s moves around us. Most of them accidental, of course.

But I am ending 2018 with the knowledge the an employee of my dentist of 20 years let the personal inconvenience I might have caused her in getting to her long weekend on time lead her to lie to me and not inform the dentist that I had stopped by with a serious dental problem that turned out to be a serious dental/sinus infection that could have spilled over to infect my brain by the time their office was open for business 6 days later.

If I hadn’t spent the next three hours wandering around Kearney, MO on foot looking for anyone who could advise me or treat my condition, being turned away from three different dental practices that were themselves booked full, and being told by a CVS minit clinic that they couldn’t help me on a dental issue, even though it involved my teeth cutting and gashing my tongue open, only to land back at the dentists office just before they left for lunch at 1 p.m. (their last appointment of the day turned out to be 2 p.m.) I never would have known that they had never discussed my issue with the dentist.

All of this is so very disjointed. Perhaps I should put a little chronology in place.

Ever since moving to Missouri in 1997 I had been the patient of Dr. W.R. Reed DDS, since he had been the dentist of my wife and her parents from when she lived in Missouri previously.

My kids went to his son-in-law, Dr. Kevin C Allman DDS, who shared the office with him, though not the practice.

Somewhere during the past couple of years, without any announcements being made to us, Dr. Reed took breaks for surgeries, and ultimately retired, and we found ourselves as patients of Dr. Allman.

During that time frame we had moved from living near Kearney to living near North Kansas City, but continued our journeys to Kearney for Dental care and also eye care, which we have and continue to have with Dr. Barry Bowles, O.D., of Kearney Vision Care.

While we have had nothing but good care and service with Kearney Vision Care, our dental care has become more problematic. The four day a week dental schedules have proved trying at times, as has getting any contacts for emergency dental care when teeth have cracked or fallen out. In the past couple of years my wife has dealt with teeth where fillings have fallen out, leaving sharp edges that gouges her cheek and tongue so it was impossible for her to talk because the effort caused her tooth to rip apart her tongue. That required a wait to get into the dentist’s schedule. And it required my struggle with the receptionist to convince them to get her in.

During one of those episodes Dr. Alman had mentioned that a sharp edge could be smoothed off with a piece of fine sand paper. So when I started having issues with sharp edges on a tooth of mine, I started using the fine sand paper from a bicycle tire repair kit to take care of the issue. I certainly didn’t want to wait to get into the dentist’s office.

So we had me taking care of my own sharp edges, which seemed to work. And during this timeframe I continued to have the issues I usually do with biting my cheek or lip, though sometimes I wondered if they weren’t getting more prevalent. Dr. Reed had at times smoothed teeth out to prevent this, and it had seemed to help, but dental checkups are months apart, and a lot can happen in that timeframe.

During the past month, say between Thanksgiving and Christmas, I seem to have an eruption of both sharpened teeth, cheek biting, and a sinus cough that seemed not excessive but incessant, and often interrupted my sleep for hours. I sanded my teeth more and more frequently, and during these weeks ended up with a gash in my tongue that made eating a chore to prevent irritating it. At one point it seemed I was sanding teeth on all sides of my mouth until suddenly things seemed better, except that the gash was there.

This lasted for a few days, and then suddenly, right at Christmas, it wasn’t sharp teeth everywhere, but as-if all my teeth had decided to move and slant inwards so my mouth became too small for my tongue to fit into it. It wasn’t too bad on Christmas, but by the day after I could not swallow or eat anything without my teeth abrading my tongue and irritating the gash near the place where I had smoothed the most serious of the sharp edges. And even though the edge wasn’t sharp, it hurt my tongue like skewers to have it touched anywhere near the gash.

Since my dentist would be closed Friday, and not open again until Wednesday for New Years, I decided to see how I was on Thursday morning.

It was worse, so we ran an errand for the kids at 9 a.m., which took longer than intended, and then called the dentist’s office, while on the way (though the receptionist did not know we were driving there as we called, my pain and anxiety over my condition being that severe). We were greeted with an its too bad sort of tone to the greeting that told us they were fully booked. To which we asked if the doctor could be talked to for advising on what to do about the pain. I had already given my name, and the receptionist asked me to give a number I could be reached so they could talk to the doctor when he had a break from a patient. To which I gave my phone number that they had on record, and heard the phone hang up without any pleasantry of ending.

So we continued our drive to the doctor’s office. My wife stopped off in the bathroom on the way in, so she didn’t see receptionist glare at me when I stepped up to the window in the office. When she finally said anything to me it was “why didn’t you call me back?”

“Because you told me you would be calling me back.”

“But you never left me a number.”

“I did, and then you hung up on me.”

“You hung up on me.”

“I gave my entire number and then the phone went dead.”

“No you didn’t.”

“Ah, I see, there was a misunderstanding, I gave my number and was certain you had gotten it, but your phone disconnected before you heard it.”

“Why didn’t you call me back.”

” Why would I call you back when I thought you had the number?”

“But you didn’t give me the number.”

“Yes, I can see this was a misunderstanding.”

“Why didn’t you call back?”

“I couldn’t call back when I thought you had the number.”

“You should have called me back.”

“I admit it was a misunderstanding. Does it matter whose fault it is? Can we just ask the doctor to advise on what to do.”

“We don’t have any openings. You should have called back.”

“Then I will just sit down over here until the doctor has a moment to advise what to do about my condition until he has time to look at me.”

When I went to sit down I was told there was no reason for me to be staying around. That they had no appointments. That I should leave.

When I wailed in pain, to match the volume of the receptionist responding to me, “why are you sending me away when I am in such pain!”

She said I had to leave at once for yelling in an office and upsetting their patients. I knew I couldn’t win that one — they would call the police for not leaving their private property, as they had the right to do. But since my wife had arrived near the end and not said anything. I told them I would leave, but asked her to stay and wait until the doctor could talk to her.

But they wouldn’t let her stay, and the hygienist said should would be afraid to be in the same room with my wife.

So I left while my wife also left and called back. The receptionist talked to her in a condescending tone and told her she would talk to the dentist and get back to her once he had a break from a patient.

Three hours later they hadn’t called either of us. I could detail what I did in those three hours, on foot, trying to find someone to help me. But the important point is that I finally wasted my efforts and had my wife join me back at the dentist’s parking lot. Where the dentist and staff just happened to be leaving for lunch at 1 p.m., and the basically the day, since they were closing early, without having said anything to the doctor, and definitely not calling us back about anything.

Dr. Allman talked to my wife, because I dared not talk to anyone lest they make good on their earlier threat to call the police on me. He told me to come back at 2:45 after his last appointment.

When he did examine me it turned out not to be my teeth that had moved, but my tongue that had gotten so enlarged that the pressure made imprints of my teeth on the edge of the tongue. And he could see the gouge in the lower right of the tongue that had a mirroring inflammation on the left side without an apparent gouge or reason. So he prescribed a pain opiod and an antibiotic even though he wasn’t sure there was an infection.

He had asked me what hurt, and I had told him I couldn’t tell whether it was the tongue or the teeth or the gums at any one point. But I can tell you now that I know that the inflammation and congestion in all my tissues that is was all three and my sinuses as well. My filing of the tooth might have eliminated the source of major irritation, but not before it let something in to infect my systems, and went through all of my tissues and cavities. The tongue became a roadway for something.

And that receptionist’s concern with getting out on time would have allowed me to suffer through 6 more days of buildup, if I was fortunate enough to last that long, or realize that I needed to get to the emergency room before all those overloaded systems in my head dumped over and overloaded the protection for my brain or some other equally vital component.

When I finally got the prescriptions later that evening from the pharmacy, and started to feel the effects spread through my system, by morning the swelling was down far enough in my tongue to not have jabs of pain every time I swallowed or tried to eat something. But it also let me feel the other places in my head where the infection and pressures had penetrated, and still give me moments when I cannot mentally form words, and have problems putting things down to writing.

Is my title claim to this blog dramatic? Yes, Is it hyperbole? No. Is the likelihood of my actually dying a stretch? No. Was the percentage that high? Probably not, but it definitely was a plausible possibility. And the pain and misery that would have occurred in any of the cases is definitely sure, and definitely was preventable.

I shouldn’t have had to risk the threat of being hauled off by the police to get my dentist to take a look at an urgent case on his steps that took him less than 15 minutes — less time than the receptionist took trying to avoid doing something about it. The real tragedy, beyond the one I described, is that she actually took more time trying to save time by allowing me more pain (I have yet to describe my 3 hours running around Kearney, or what else ensued during my day), than she would have by offering me the minimal service I should have been able to expect.

All this to say, I need to go to that dentist again. But I cannot stay with him. I cannot use a dentist who will allow his staff to mistreat a patient so, and to accept care from people who I cannot trust to treat me in a safe and humane way.

Posted in Family

Untangling wires

One of the things that can happen when your adorable 30-year house that you are 15 years into was built in the 1920s is that you may find tangles like the one pictured below when you are walking through your undeveloped basement garage and look up into the floor joist for the main floor that are above you:

Since the rest of the house has been so well refurbished in the past year, my sights have been turned to our basement, to make it as clean and presentable as possible. The younger offspring unit and I have been trying to identify all the wires and other structures in the floor joists and have been removing the ones that started nowhere and ended nowhere. 

When we ran into this, still connected, I fortunately knew how to indentify it.  I went to a private online Facebook group I belong made up of the most eclectic people who know or do or practice or have researched every imaginable topic.  A writer’s group. 

They came back that it was an old school Western Electric lightning arrestor for our landline telephone. Well, since we haven’t had a landline since we threw of the traces of AT&Ts internet/cell/landline bundle years ago, I decided we would pull all those wires out. If anyone needed landline phone in the future, it would be better to run new lines anyway.

Now we bought the house from a family who ran a successful construction business out of the house, so our house is wired for two lines, residential and business. So I had to unhook two plugs from the AT&T box outside to remove the juice from the house lines.

Those two plugs happened to be crossed, because When AT&T transferred landline from the prior owner to us, they put our residence phones on the old business line. We had to flip to use our correct working residential phone lines.


We pulled those main units and are starting to clear out the related wires, As all the triplicate (Why three  for two lines I do not know) things start to look much neater, and the electric wiring begins to make sense and be accessible. Two thirds of the electrical looks good, but about one third has aged so the outside of the plastic insulation is starting to look somewhat papery.

But here below are pictures of the main components, moderately dusted off, to show how durable, still usable, and enduring these solid parts have been. Especially after not being used (except doubtless a carrying voltage) for the past 10 years).

Anyone know if these have any value to collectors, or are they best served as landfill? I know we would rather see a valued item saved than junked, but we aren’t going to value it.

Posted in Events, Family, Uncategorized

An unexpected defrost

Yesterday I got up in the morning and went to the kitchen set on the simple mission of picking up my breakfast and retreating. It was not to be. And I cannot blame it on the presence of anyone else, because each of the events that got added to the mission profile was something of my conscious doing.

When I opened the refrigerator door, I remembered a discussion the night before that we  would have sloppy joes that day. So we had planned to put the ground meat in the refrigerator to thaw.  But I didn’t see any. So I pulled the  pounds ground turkey out of the upstairs refrigerator freezer freezer and went downstairs to the chest freezer to add the pound of ground beef that makes up our three.

I had to dig down to find it, and then I found I couldn’t remove it from the freezer. There were 8 remaining ground beef packages, all on the bottom of the freezer, surrounding a bag of ice that had been put there during the second power outage that had caused softening and weeping of the freezer meats before refreezing started.

So I started a new project to free the ground beef. Not one, all. Hammer to tap it first, then a screw driver and hammer to try and pry them apart from each other, and the freezer floor. The dull thudding got the attention, slowly, of everyone in the house.

That is when I roused Nathan for his eye and expertise. Because I had decided that now was THE time to defrost the freezer, both freezers, and get them organized so we knew what we had. Bringing my consultant down, I detailed for him my idea, and asked for cautions and improvements.

On the all behind and between the two freezers (upright, chest) are two water faucets, hot and cold, used when the washing machine was in the basement. I intended to attach a hose to the hot water, and use as much hot water as needed to melt the ice holding the ice bag to the bottom of the freezer. Once removed I would pull the drain plugs and use hot water to melt the accumulated ice off the sides, dry it with a towel, and (last minute idea) clean and sanitize the surfaces with Clorox wipes.

Pulling the drain plug caused water to flow out, across the floor and toward the drain below the car. Some of it passed toward across the bottom of the stairs, while other progressed to under the stairs, where dirt, junk, and two bags of concrete mix sat.  Water would not be good for the concrete mix. I hailed Carly, had her fetch the shop broom, and sweep the water away from underneath the stairs and move it in front of them.

Once that freezer was deiced and the water stopped, I had he clear a section of the elevated shelf under the stairs and hoisted the bags of concrete mix onto its high and dry surface.

That left all the dirt and trash.  With the same broom I swept while Carly held the back that we dumped all the debris into.

I had emptied the chest freezer into the upright. Now i reorged and I moved the upright to the chest. Hot water sprayed on the shelves of coils deiced them and ran out the front, going under the stairs (now clean), until it was wiped down clean.

At this point I held an all house meeting. How do we want to divide our frozen foods.  We decided to put the meats in the chest freezer, and other items in the upright. Turned out to be quite a workable arrangement. I even had some of the meat in the upstairs freezer brought down, to free it up for more current items.

After the conference, Betsy drove off with the car on errands, and the garage was open — and I could see all the garbage accumulated under it, ready to plug the drain. So I had the final project, the only one not mostly done by me, of sweeping and bagging the trash in the open areas, assigned to the kids.

I went in for Breakfast at 7:30 a.m. and left the kids sweeping the trash at 10 a.m. That was the best and most efficient freezer defrosting I can recall being a part of.