Iwo Gima

Iwo Gima
Marine Corps Marathon

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

June 22, 2016

Today, Jason and I took his truck in to the Ability Center, so that it could get its regular servicing. He drove the truck and I drove the van (Linda was out on her own errands in the Mustang). The folks at the Ability Center did an excellent job of fixing all the little things that Jason told them about, and the one thing I told them about. The truck not only works like new, it also looks better - of course it only looks better to Jason and me, but then we know what to look for.

While the truck was being worked on we headed over to Balboa, where Jason had a visit with Wound Care and Rod did his usual great work and things are looking better again. A little over a week ago, Rod suggested we make a small change in the treatment of the one wound that is so slow to heal, and it looks like there is some benefit showing. I am hopeful that we can get to the point of closing up soon and then it is on to the next step, and a surgical procedure - but that won't happen until late September or October.

Also, while at Balboa, we got the chance to speak with Dr. Sheu, Jason's primary doctor, and said our "good-bye's", as he is heading out to a new duty station. Dr. Sheu has been a great support and advocate for Jason, in many of the areas and ways that Linda and I just don't have the background for. A big example of that is the wearable, or prosthesis, that Jason is using now. We will definitely miss seeing him and having our talks, then again, his new duty station is Camp Pendleton, and if Jason ultimately changes to that hospital (possibly in the next couple of years) we'll already have someone there who is VERY familiar with Jason's case.

We ended up taking most of the day for this trip, and as such, we drove the two vehicles back to Fallbrook during the commute period (I used to say rush hour, but it last longer than an hour). When we finally got home, Linda was working on the garden and she was doing a great job of making it look clean, as well as taking great care of the plants (we have lots of tomatoes). Thank you, for all the continued support and prayers - and for just taking the time to continue to read this blog. Take care and stay positive.

Monday, June 13, 2016

June 13, 2016

It has been nine days since I last posted an update, and so I felt it was time to put something out here, so that you all can see what is going on. We went on a "vacation" with the girls, that is Linda and I took the girls up to Livermore. When asked where they would like to go Stacy said Livermore and Jackie was quick to agree with her, so that's where we initially went. We did go a little farther north and ended up at the JellyBelly factory, and that was as far north as we went.

We spent a few days  in Livermore, staying at a friends home, Hugh and Julie K., and that became our home base. We did several things in Livermore, and the girls had a great time while there, and we also happened to be there at the same time our house in Livermore closed, and we are now without a house in Livermore. It was both good to sell the house yet very sad to say good-bye to our home of 28 years. Perhaps I'll write more about it later. As it was, we signed the papers on Tuesday and left Livermore on Friday.

Our trip back down was with a stop in Monterey, where we stayed with our long time friend Larry and his wife Arlinda. Larry's son John was also there, and we visited with him for a little while, but he was studying for the bar exam, so he was pretty busy most of the time. We spent one night there and the next morning we went to the Aquarium and the girls were totally amazed. The Aquarium is an amazing place, and I wish we had more time to spend there, but we needed to get going. Our next stop was simply a sleep over in Ventura, and then on to David and Miriam's place, for Ethan's birthday celebration.

We stayed for several hours and had a great time at the party (they always have great parties, with the best food and lots to drink - though no alcohol - and that's a good thing). We'd been away from Fallbrook, and Jason for about eight days now, and we needed to get home. The drive the rest of the way down wasn't too bad, though there was some typical LA traffic, and we managed to get here in the late afternoon, and our vacation was over. There were some pictures taken, and I still need to load them on to the computer, so instead I'll post a few other pictures I was supposed to post earlier. Thank you, for all the continued support and prayers. Take care and stay positive.

Stacy took this picture - It's me with my replacement Mustang

The girls wanted their picture with the car, too.

Saturday, June 4, 2016

June 4, 2016

Some catching up - -

Jason is doing well, and having a good time with his new interest - - - the fish aquarium. He now has several fish in it (I think 17), and he says he isn't going to put anymore in, at least not for a while. And just in case I haven't mentioned it in the past, the tank is 75gal. Like everything else he gets into, he has been doing a bunch of reading on it and now knows more about fish and their care than most people, and will probably gain even more knowledge as he moves along with this. He has also told me that we should expect to soon see some smaller fish swimming around, as the Mollies will be having babies. I really don't know what that really mean, as far as expectations go, but I'm anxious to see how many (he said three of them females are pregnant and they have "live" births).

I have included a picture of my (our) new mustang, so you all can see what we bought. It was just one of those amazing deals you hear about, only this time it happened with us. Linda and I really enjoy getting out and doing some of our running around in it, and look forward to maybe a day trip or two, when we get some free time. The down side is that Jason can't ride in it, at least not in its current configuration. I'm going to be talking with some engineering students to see what they can come up with, so that he can at least go for a ride.

The girls will be going with Linda and I, up to Livermore this week, and doing some touristy kind of things. One of the big ones is going to the Jelly Belly Factory, and later down to Monterey (that's down from Livermore) and visit the Aquarium. We'll also be stopping in and seeing a very good friend of ours, Larry, and his wife Arlinda. Larry was the best-man at our wedding, and actually the reason Linda and I met... a story for another day. While in Livermore we'll be staying with our good friends,  Huge and Julie K. as they have opened up their home to us, and will be allow us to come and go while there.

The end of the "vacation" will be a stop at our son David's place, where we'll partake in the 4th birthday celebration of our grandson Ethan. Hard to believe that he is already going to be four years old. We always have a lot of fun whenever we go visit them, and having it be a birthday party makes it that much better, with an added bonus of having Stacy and Jackie with us, so all the grand kids will be in the same place. They all get along well, and it is good giving them a chance to get to know each other better.

While we're gone we will have friends stopping in and checking on Jason. We have solicited the help of a Navy Corpsmen to help with his nightly dressing changes, and Joselyn will also be coming in to assist. There will be some time where Jason is on his own, and I think that is going to be a little extra fun for Jason, or at least I hope it is. Thank you, for all the continued support and prayers. Take care and stay positive.

Saturday, May 28, 2016

May 28, 2016

These past couple of days have been a little rough on me, and I am glad to say that I am feeling much better. I apparently got hit with something, and it left me with little to no energy and my sinuses were very congested (still are some). Linda had to put up with me, especially at night, when I was making all kinds of noise sleeping, like coughing and snoring. The overall congestion was pretty bad, and woke me up several times as well. She did manage to get some sleep, but it was disturbed and really not very restful. Of course you wouldn't know, watching her; she just kept on going, like the Energizer Bunny.

Jason is continuing to heal up and is becoming more active around the house. He recently purchased a fish aquarium and now has seven fish in it. It is a 75gal. tank and has room for a few more, and he intends to get more, just taking his time so that the environment settles and it is good for the fish. He has been reading up on this activity and now knows more than most on how to set up a tank and why the different things are needed. It is definitely something that he is interested in, and it is going to be fun to see how this develops. Another side benefit of the tank is that the girls are pretty excited about it and interested in all the new things that Daddy is doing.

The girls all both VERY excited about the end of the school year, and keep talking about it constantly. Next Friday is the last day for the year, and then the following week we'll be taking off for a short "vacation" with them. We are looking forward to introducing them to more of California, and perhaps set an ongoing plan to show them a little more of the United States each year. Not totally sure what we'll do next year, but it will be something both fun and educational. Thank you, for all the continued prayers and support. Take care and stay positive.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

May 24, 2016

Lots of updates, and I truly apologize, but I don't have any new pictures to post. I will do my best to get a couple for tomorrow - and make another post.

First of all, Jason is doing very well. His one remaining wound is continuing to heal and close, and we are all very anxious for it to finish up. Everything else has completely closed and if it wasn't for the fact that I know where they were, I would be hard pressed to point them out, specifically. Jason is also experimenting with different hobbies. He has been interested in guns, and has collected a few, over these past couple of years. Fortunately, one of the first things he did was to purchase a large gun safe, and it IS very large (weighs in at over 1/2 a ton, and also bolted down to the floor). He likes to get out and target practice, and he is getting pretty good, even with his pistols. Considering the damage that was done to his hands and nerves, this is a big deal. He is also very particular on how his guns are stored, and keeps them clean). He also has gotten into making mead, or honey-wine. He has been able to make a couple of batches, and they have an interesting flavor. One of them in particular, is very smooth, and their alcohol content is apparently right there where it is supposed to be. Finally, the newest interest is tropical fish and a fresh water aquarium. Right now he only has six small fish in the tank (75 gal.), and the water is amazingly clear. It is kind of fun watching the fish, and Linda and I (and the girls, too) are wondering what the next fish are going to be. Actually, I'm just glad to see him get out and do other things, as it shows he is feeling better all the time.

There have been a couple of changes on our side (mine and Linda's), too. The Fusion engine quit on me, a couple of weeks ago, while I was on the freeway. I was headed to a VA appointment, for me, and I knew the car was getting close to breaking down. I had hoped that it would get me to the appointment, and it almost did, though I did have to walk the last couple of blocks. The car died on the exit ramp, and I just coasted to the end of the ramp, and then pulled completely to the side (I was able to get totally out of the way of traffic). Because there is a need for us to have a vehicle we had been looking at other cars, and this kind of just forced the issue. Anyway, we went to the dealer (Linda met me there) and were able to drive off with a new Mustang GT. It was a bit more care than we expected to get, but the price was too good to pass up (actually got it for under invoice), and it was sort of a dream car for both of us anyway.

The girls will be ending their school year in Fallbrook, in a little over a week, and they are both kind of excited to have another summer to look forward to. They are both getting bigger and growing so fast, and it is very challenging, especially for Linda, to make sure they have clothes to wear, that fit. It seems like Linda is going shopping for them about every other week. Of course the girls don't mind, they like getting new clothes. Jackie used to be able to just get Stacy's old clothes, but that doesn't work so well anymore, as Jackie and Stacy are becoming two distinct sizes and shapes.

Finally, we hoping to actually take a vacation this year. We're renting a motor home and heading up to northern California and making a few stops along the way. Jason will not be coming with us, as he is more interested in getting the wounds to finally heal, and he wants to put the time in on his new hobbies. We're actually only going to be gone for about a week, and the girls are going to be very excited when we get to The Jelly Belly Factory, as well as the Monterrey Aquarium. Funny thing though, the one place they have been talking about most is Livermore. They have some very good memories about our house and the times in Livermore, and so they want to be sure to get a chance to see the old homestead again. We will be selling soon, so this is probably going to be their last chance to see the house. Thank you, for all the continued support and prayers. Take care and stay positive.

Friday, May 13, 2016

May 13, 2016

Happy Friday the 13th!

Actually, this has been a good week, over all. It started out a little on the shaky side, as our Fusion of the past seven years, died. We had about 64,540 miles on it, so the mileage was actually pretty low. The problem was that a cylinder and piston decided that they just didn't want to work anymore. I was driving to an appointment (more on that later) at the VA, and I got as far as the exit off the freeway. The engine literally stopped working just before the exit, and I coasted to the top and then pulled over to the side. I was out of traffic and then waited. I did still make the appointment (hospital was in walking distance at that point), and immediately after I called for a tow and walked back to the car. I was gone for less than an hour, so I was fortunate that the CHP didn't ticket the car. A couple of hours later the tow truck showed up - driver had been given bad information from his dispatch. I had him tow me to a Ford dealer.

Funny part is that Linda and I have been talking about the need for another vehicle for a couple of months now, so this kind of just forced the issue. I had been to that dealer, just the day before and so I was able to connect with the sales guy, and we talked, and we came to an agreement on what vehicle we could get, so we did. We bought a 2015 Mustang! Not particularly practical, but we need something that we (just the two of us) can get away in. If there is a need for us to take the girls somewhere we can always use the van, and the van is also fantastic for shopping and other errands. Anyway, we got a very good deal, price ended up being less than what a new Fusion would have cost, and they still gave us $3,000 for our car.

Jason is doing very well, and his one last wound is still closing up. . . slowly. We all would like to see it heal up a little faster, but at least any movement is better than no movement. The Wearable is doing its job very well, and Jason has no problems putting it on. Jason has been getting up more and having more meals with us, at the dinner table, and that is priceless. Linda and I are going to be getting away next week, for a couple of days, and we have coverage for when we're gone. This is a break we very much need, so we are thankful for both Semper Fi and the Navy, for helping us make this happen.

One quick story about the new Mustang - First, you need to know that it is a convertible. . . Today we picked up the girls, at the bus stop and walked them back to the house. We told them about the new car, and Stacy said she had seen it when they passed the house, in the bus. I asked them if they would like to go for a ride and they said sure, but didn't seem too excited about going for a car ride. That is, until the top went down, then they were both EXCITED to go for a ride, and started talking about 90 miles an hour. Stacy must have said, "This is the first time I've been in a convertible!" about a dozen times. Jackie was just as excited and loved going on the curves and hills, and we have a bunch of them around here. She was disappointed when we came back to the house. It probably wasn't more than a five mile ride, but it was the "best" car ride ever, for them.

This weekend should be another great weekend, Saturday we are all going to a Luncheon hosted by the North County Blue Star Mothers,  and on Sunday Linda's parents, Joe and Jess are coming over, and bringing our niece Anna with them. This will be her first time visiting here, though she also visited the Point Loma house, about a year ago. When we stop and think about it, we really have had a number of visits from family, and some of them have had to travel some distance to get here. What is nice with this house, now, is that we can offer them a place to stay.Thank you, for all the continued support and prayers. Take care and stay positive.

Friday, May 6, 2016

May 6, 2016

We (Linda and I) had a great couple of days with our son David and his wife Miriam, and their two boys Dylan and Ethan. It was Grandparent's Day at their school and we were invited to go. This was our third time for us going, and we had just as much fun this time as we did last time... but I'm getting a little ahead of myself.

We drove up to Los Angeles, Thursday morning. Our nephew Wayne, who works for Enterprise, was able to get us a nice discount on a car rental (again - Thank you, Wayne) and that way we didn't have to put extra miles on Jason's van, and the rental car got great gas mileage. Anyway, we decided that since we were heading up a little early it would be okay to do a little exploring and we started out on Interstate 15, rather than on 5. Everything was going great until the GPS decided to loose it's mind. It took us on an extra 40 mile loop, that ended up going backward for a little bit. It all worked out and it was an "exploration" after all, so we got to see a small part of California we had not seen before.

We ended up getting there a little later than planned and checked into our hotel but that was okay because Grandparents Day was on Friday, and we knew where the school was. Linda and I got up early this morning and headed over to David and Miriam's place. Miriam had to leave early, as she was also involved in a Grandparents Day at the school she is working at, so as you might imagine, they had a bit of a busy house for a couple of days.We got the boys in the van (we had a mini-van) and headed to their school. It was good seeing the school again, and recognizing some of the staff, and then the program began with a breakfast in the "Community Center."

While in the Center, there was a nice program where the different age groups got up and sang for all of us, while we were served a wonderful breakfast. Bonnie, the boys other Grandmother, was also there and we all sat together. Then there was a special guest singer - Neil Diamond has a grandchild attending the school and he came out and performed Sweet Caroline for us. Afterward we finished breakfast, and there were a few more people who spoke, and then the visits to the class rooms started. We actually ran into Mr. Diamond again a little later, and he is pretty much just a regular guy, who has some notoriety - - - and can sing. He also happens to be Linda's most favorite singer.

We went to the boys classrooms, where we were shown around, and they got to show us what they have been doing and what they have created. Because Bonnie was there we decided that we'd split up so that the boys each had a Grandparent in their classroom. It seemed to work out very well, and we had a great time with each of them, in their respective rooms. When we were done with that we all went to lunch together (me, Linda, Bonnie and the boys), and enjoyed some time just talking and having a very nice lunch together. Once that was done we headed back home, to Jason.

All this time Jason has been back at the house with the girls, and Joselyn. They were all still there when we returned, and though it is always a wonderful time being with the family in Los Angeles, it is still nice to get back home. Kind of like the feeling of getting home from a vacation. Thank you, for all the continued support and prayers. Take care and stay positive.