Iwo Gima

Iwo Gima
Marine Corps Marathon

Thursday, August 28, 2014

August 28, 2014

Today was one of those days where Jason did not have any appointments and spent most of the day in bed. I wish he would spend more time in bed, to allow the wounds to heal, but he is that kind of guy who wants to get out and take care of things. He recognizes that he needs to let his body heal, yet he also wants to get out and do things, like most of us. Anyway, he took time to clean some of the equipment he has and to just play a little with Gracie. The rest of the day was in bed.

I got up and went for a nice bike ride. It wasn't too long, as I am still trying to build up to that, and Linda wanted to do a few things that required my involvement. I also was able to put some time in on Stand Up and Play, and the Quick Books work that I am doing for them. The fun part is that I am continually learning new things and still finding out QB can be used.

This evening Linda and I went over to see our cats, and they are doing great. Glenn, Anne and their son, Nick are doing a great job of being a foster family for Pumpkin and Candy (the cats), and we feel lucky to have connected with them. They also have a son, Nick, who is also in Scouting. He has reached the rank of Eagle Scout, and is having his Court of Honor, early next week. We have been invited to this event, and Jason is looking forward to going. It will be good to get in to a setting of a bunch of Scouters having a good time. Thank you, for all the continued support and prayers. Take care and stay positive.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

August 27, 2014

Today was what you would call a RED Letter day for Jason, as there was a bunch to get done and generally a very busy day for all of us. The girls were up early, and actually Stacy came up and made sure we were awake by 06:30. The past couple of days we've had to go down and get her up, closer to 07:00, so today was particularly nice. Both Jackie and Stacy were up and ready to head out to school, by 07:40, and Linda and Jason were ready to get them there. Linda was doing what I would normally be doing because I had my own appointment with the VA, at 08:00. Right after dropping the girls off Jason was off to his first appointment, and this is where it really gets good.

Jason's first appointment was with the DMV, and Linda had to get him over to the Scripts Vehicle Training Center, so that he could take the driving assessment in their vehicle (The DMV wants those who are testing to take the test in their vehicle - and Jason was totally fine with that). Jason took the test and passed with a score of 100%, and then again, what else would you expect from him. The driving test took about 30 minutes or so, and Gracie was so very happy to see him when he got back. Linda was holding on to Gracie during the test and she basically whined the entire time Jason was gone (Gracie did, not Linda).

There were a couple of other appointments for Jason, thought in comparison, not as important. With the passing of this event, Jason can now officially get his truck and drive himself around town. I suspect that it will still be a little while before he does much driving, but I expect him to build up to longer drive times, quickly enough. We all got back to the house at about the same time, this afternoon and we had a nice little lunch together. I had a couple of appointments also, and both of them worked out fine. The only down side is the amount of time I have to extend with the VA, sometimes. The head of the section where I went to did apologize to me and gave me a different number to call, if I need to come back in. This is supposed to help with getting me in sooner, so I'll see how it works.

The rest of the day was pretty relaxed, and Linda and I even had our date-night time together. We went to go see the new James Brown movie "Get on Up", and found it to be very enjoyable. There were some things left out about his life, and you did walk away with some questions, but then if it had all the information it would have taken twice as long to watch it. I would recommend that anyone who is interested in that era of music, and especially James Brown fans, go and watch it. Thank you, for all your continued support and prayers. Take care and stay positive.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

August 26, 2014

The girls got off to school this morning, and it was actually quite a nice morning. No delays or scrambling around to find lost items or shoes, and breakfast was easy and quick (they had multi-grain Cheerios). Right after getting back to the house I went and double checked with Jason, on his appointments, as well as other things he might want to do, and I was clear until 11:15, when we needed to be over at the Sharps Institute where Jason was to complete his final driver training. This meant that I had about 2 1/2 hours and time to get out on my bike. More specifically it meant a 15 to 16 mile ride, and that is what I did.

I got back from the ride (16 miles) and cooled down and cleaned up, and got ready to go. Jason and I went over to the Sharps and within about 30 minutes he was behind the wheel and ready to head out on his last "training" session, so that tomorrow he can do the DMV version. Once he has that out of the way he will be able to finally get into his OWN truck, and start driving himself whenever he needs to go somewhere. This will be a level of freedom for Jason that he has been looking forward to for almost two years now.

The session went off without a hitch... sort of... When we got to Sharps they had the controls moved over to the right side, so that Jason could get a feel for what that was like. When he gets his truck the controls will be on the right side. As it turned out, the moving of the controls from the left to the right isn't quite as simple a move as one might think. They drove for a few miles and Jason was having to cross over on some of his moves, and that was too big of an issue to continue, so they stopped and Penny (the drive instructor) moved the controls back over to the left, where they were designed to be, just as the ones in the truck will be designed for the right side, and thus the same problems/challenges won't be encountered. Anyway, with the controls where they should be the drive was completed, and Jason did just fine. When they go to the DMV tomorrow, he will be driving that same Sharps van - one of the requirements from the DMV, not sure why.

The rest of the day was again, quiet and the girls were back from school and excited, again, to tell us about all that happened. I am glad they both seem to like school so much, right now, as it will make it easier as the classes get more difficult. Thank you, for the continued support and prayers. Take care and stay positive.

Monday, August 25, 2014

August 25, 2014

First day of school for the girls, and it was chaos... Well, maybe not chaos, just very exciting. We got up at a little after 06:00 this morning, and had the girls up a little bit later. Even with the idea that the first day of school was awaiting them, they still didn't want to get up. We finally did get them up and dressed, and both of them looked great, as well as excited to be heading off to a new adventure.

We walked to school, as we do live very close, and the number of vehicles attempting to get on to the grounds was higher than usual. We already are familiar with the class room where Jackie is now going, as well as the teacher; the big challenge was finding Stacy's class room. We had to walk all of about 30 feet to find the door. Then, as you enter the door, her name was on the desk where she will be sitting. We got to meet some of the other parents, and Stacy got to meet some of the other students, briefly, then we were out of the room and socializing outside. The students and teachers all stayed in the class rooms and the adults all gathered around a table that had bagels and coffee. I don't drink coffee and Jason does only rarely, so we didn't really stay too long. Jason did get to meet some of the other parents and that was good, as well as got his name on the contact roster for the parent association. After that, we simply walked home.

The next on the agenda was Jason's appointment back at Balboa. He had an appointment with PT, and then we came back home. Since it was still relatively early I decided to go for a bike ride. I only planned on going for a short ride and told Linda I would be back in an hour. I took off and planned on riding out to Mission Bay, and then saw that the road was being worked on, and the bike lane was closed. I decided to turn around and headed back, and still managed to get in a little over 11 miles.

The rest of the day was spent taking care of errands and doing some clean up. We need to start planning on how we are going to reorganize the garage, and off-site storage. We still have too much stuff, and not enough room, but that's pretty much normal for most houses. The day wore down to the evening and then after dinner (I grilled some steaks for Jason and I and hot dogs for the girls. Linda fixed her own dinner and is being very good about her diet), we just relaxed. Tomorrow Jason will be going to his final driver training, and then I think Wednesday or Thursday he will be testing with the DMV to get his approval for driving a specialized vehicle. I think he is very ready to be out on his own, and I am looking forward to this. Thank you, for all the continued support and prayers. Take care and stay positive.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

August 24, 2014 - Jackie's 4th Birthday!

Today is Jackie's birthday, and she turned 4 years old! We had the party for her yesterday, and we kept it kind of small, with just family attending. Jason's older brother David, came down with his two boys, Dylan and Ethan, to help with the celebrating. The cousins all get along very well and they played together, both outside and inside. I was able to get some pictures taken this time, so I hope you enjoy them. Nana and Tata also came (that's Linda's parents, so that makes them Jackie's Great Grand Parents). The visitors all stayed for lunch and for a little bit a resting period, before having to take of to get back home. Both Nana and Tata, and David and his sons, live north of here, so they all had to endure some traffic going home. Because it was Saturday, I am hoping it wasn't too bad.

Jackie is like most 4-year olds and was pretty excited to see all the people and all the gifts, especially since they were for her. The funny part is that as she opened one, she was ready to stop to go off and play with that gift, in her hand. We had to keep getting her to focus on the other packages. Stacy did pretty good too, considering that most of the stuff was for Jackie, and she only received a couple of things. David (and Miriam, his wife, who wasn't able to attend) gave both girls rain boots, with Hello Kitty on them. It wasn't all they gave, but it was the best thing, as far as Stacy and Jackie were concerned. They wore the boots most of the rest of the day, yesterday, and then again most of the day, today. From Nana and Tata they received a couple of hula-hoops and those went over big. It was kind of funny watching the girls try to use them while wearing the rubber rain boots.

Today we went to church in the morning and as soon as we got back home they both put their boots on and had a great day. I think Jackie was actually kind of confused with the party yesterday, and then today she was being told it was her birthday. We really didn't do much else today, other than finished with some clean up, and a friend of Jason came over, Gary K., for a short visit, as well as to give gifts to both the girls. Tomorrow is first day of school, for the new year, and they are both going to the same school this year, though Jackie is in Pre-K. Thank you, for all the continued support and prayers. Take care and stay positive.

Friday, August 22, 2014

August 22, 2014

Today has been an interesting day, and a busy one. Jason decided that he wanted to get his retirement photo ID done today, so we went over to building 26 to get it done. When we arrived there was a line of folks already there, as well as a few others who had made appointments. My guess is that Jason didn't think it was going to take too long, and so we waited. What happened, as a result, was that his PT appointment was missed, and he really doesn't like to miss appointments. He did end up finally getting his ID created, and this time he had all the correct forms, and they were correctly filled out. Last time he went there his copy of his DD214 was incorrect and we had to get back to Pendleton to get it fixed (that was in a blog a few days ago). After receiving his new ID we headed over to the PT area, so he could apologize to Dawn, and reassure the other appointments would be kept. It was also a good time to stop, because we got to meet up with a few people we hadn't seen in a few weeks, and it nice to catch up.

We left Balboa and decided to head over to the Ability Center, where they are doing both Jason's truck and his van. Both of them are moving along nicely, and the van should be ready by the end of next week, which would put it on the day before his last day as an active duty Marine. He official retirement date is August 30, and that is one week from tomorrow, Saturday. The truck would probably be ready the following week. He still has to do his DMV driving test, and that takes place next week, and then he will be able to get his truck and van. The Van is a gift from  The Gary Sinise Foundation and The Wounded Warrior Family Support organization, and the Truck is a gift from The Nice Guys and The Semper Fi Foundation. Also, both of them were helped with money from the VA, and all of the groups working together made it possible for the vehicles to become reality.

The rest of the day was doing a few things to get ready for Jackie's fourth birthday party. She actually turns four (4) on Sunday, but it seemed to work better to have her party on Saturday. I be sure to post some photos this time, and see how well I do with the camera. We're not expecting too many people, with just a few family members coming, and that should actually be a good thing for her party. She enjoys playing with her cousins, and we hope they all have a great time. Thank you, for all the continued support and prayers. Take care and stay positive.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

August 21, 2014

For the past couple of years, now, we have pretty much been using a loaner van, to help with Jason's transportation needs. There was the other van that was recently given to us, that since then has been donated to Father Joe's Home, and we are now waiting on another van that is being "built" to help Jason, and the rest of us be able to get around like a family. Well, the van that we are borrowing, from Semper Fi and Rollx is a relatively new van, and in this particular case, we have put most of the miles on it. Over the coarse of a couple of years it has needed service and today was one of those days. I got up early and packed my bike into the van, and drove to the dealership, where the service was to be performed. The idea being that I was to ride my bike home, and then turn around and ride it back to pick it back up (total ride would be just over 15 miles, with one very challenging hill). Anyway, I took it in to the service, at Hacienda Chrysler/Dodge and everything looked great for being coordinated. I had made the appointment, so they were expecting me. Then, for whatever reason, a different service person took this particular job, and things got a little shaky.

In the past Patricia was the service person who dealt with the Semper Fi vehicles and she was very aware of all the particulars of how it was handled. Joey, the new guy, apparently didn't have any of the required knowledge and it took nearly half a day just to get that corrected, and since new tires were involved (4 of them) it was a larger expense than just an oil change. I did drop off the van, and rode my bike home, then after a number of phone calls, back and forth between the Marines, me and the dealership, and a few hours of elapsed time, I did not ride my bike back. In fact, the van was now not going to be ready until 17:00 (5pm) at the soonest. Originally it was supposed to be no later than 13:00 (1pm). When I did finally get the van back, it was after 17:30 (5:30pm), and I still have to take it back in to finish the alignment. The mechanics there are quite good, and they showed they wanted to get the job done right. It is the front end that had the problems, and they blamed it on being short handed and very busy. If they are short handed then they  shouldn't be promising times to customers that can't be delivered. Setting expectations is the most important thing they can do, and in this case it was badly handled. Anyway, the front end work will be done early next week, when I again have time to get it in.

The rest of the day was quiet and Jason actually spent most of the day in bed. There is an early appointment in the morning (the reason I needed the van back), and we will be getting the girls back tomorrow. We're going into the weekend prior to the beginning of a new school year, so we're expecting a bunch of excitement. The other big thing, this weekend is Jackie's birthday; she will be turning 4 years old. These past four years have been so fast, and so full of events; it just keeps our heads spinning. Thank you, for all the continued support and prayers. Take care and stay positive.