Iwo Gima

Iwo Gima
Marine Corps Marathon

Saturday, May 2, 2015

May 2, 2015

Yesterday was a special day, as we picked up the girls from school at about 12:30 (it was an early release day) and then we got all packed up to head up to the Pala Mesa Resort in Fallbrook. We had been given tickets to the Gabriel "Fluffy" Iglesias show at the Pala Casino/Hotel & Spa (found out the two are not connected). The show was great and we had a wonderful time. The tickets to the show were as a result of the Gary Sinise Foundation contacting the Casino/Hotel and getting tickets - and since the show was already sold out, it was especially cool that they made them available. We had four seats, being me, Linda, Jason and Cristin, our friend from the Gary Sinise Foundation (Cristin and Jason really get along well). We were given VIP treatment and escorted to our seats, and as the show was ending we were given some gifts from Fluffy. The hospitality shown to us was above and beyond or expectations, and we'll keep our eyes open to see if there is any other shows we might want to go see.

Now, on the other hand, at the Pala Mesa Resort, about 15 minutes away, in Fallbrook, and our stay there was not quite so good. The room we were given, for Jason was ADA, by definition, but some of the accommodations were challenging, at best. Jason normally gets into his bed from the side, as it is easier for him to maneuver and get comfortable. With this room he could only get on at the foot of the bed, as his chair would not fit along the side. I attempted to move the bed and found it was secured in place, so no moving. The roll-in shower had just enough room for his chair for him to get to the shower, and then he was unable to maneuver to get to the bench, without some serious reaching on his part. Fortunately he has big and strong arms. Also, with the shower, the water pressure was low, very low, and it was again another challenge to effectively get clean. Now, the bed it self was less than wonderfully comfortable, and finally the A/C of the room remained on all the time and the room remained moderately warm. The temperature wouldn't have been much of an issue for most of us, but for Jason it is a bigger issue, since he still has challenges moderating body temperature. This morning I asked him how he slept and he said he thinks he might have gotten four hours.

I took this to the hotel staff and they effectively didn't seem to care and only said that next year they were going to be renovating the hotel. I even attempted to draw them a picture of how a minor change would make a big difference, and they just smiled and said thank you, as I walked away with that drawing. I seriously doubt that we will be ever staying there again, or recommending them to any of our friends who might come up to visit us, in Fallbrook. Yes, it isn't very far from Jason's new house. I did mention it to the Casino/Hotel, via email today, though I don't know if they are connected.

We left at about 09:00 this morning, feeling tired and hungry. Fortunately the girls were spending the evening with Anthony and Angelica, so we didn't have to worry about them, through all of this. We went directly to Anthony and Angelica's house, in Ocean Side, and they were having a great time and everyone seemed in good spirits. The van was again loaded up and we headed for Point Loma. Traffic wasn't bad and we got back down here in just a little over 30 minutes. We got the van unloaded and parked and then Jason took off to go visit Kojak.

The good news is that Kojak is doing much better, and will probably be coming home on Monday. Kojak has really started to connect with Jason, and each of the visits by Jason has shown that Kojak likes to be with him, and today's visit he showed the most activity so far, also a good sign that he is feeling better. We have gone through and did a major cleaning of the environment and made sure all his bedding is new and clean. We are all anxious to have him back home.

The rest of the day has been relaxed and calm. Linda and I (and even Jason) got to take a nap, about the same time the girls took their naps. It was very refreshing to have the short nap, as I got up before the girls did. A little while later, while I was finishing the Giants baseball game, Jackie came out and wanted to play with me (I hope some, or all, of you got to see the Giants game, as it ended in a very unusual way, so if you haven't seen it, check it out). After about 30 minutes Jackie wanted to go up to see Grandma, so I let her, and she headed up stairs and woke Grandma.

Not much else happened tonight, other than some good old fashion relaxing, Tomorrow we will be attempting to get back into our regular Sunday routine, and then cruse into another great week. I hope you all have a wonderful Sunday, and that your week, next week, is a great one. Thank you, for all the continued support and prayers. Take care and stay positive.
Jason, Cristin, Linda, George at the Fluffy performance

Jason and Cristin having a good time.


Thursday, April 30, 2015

April 30, 2015

Well, we've all made it to the end of the 4th month of this "new" year, and the time continues to just move on by. I really assumed that Jason's wounds would have been just about all healed up by now, and am sorry to report that they are in fact, not making much progress at all, right now. In fact they have gone a little on the reverse direction. Still, they are much better than they were a year ago, and Jason is still in very strong spirits. I believe the biggest issue is the seating challenges he is dealing with, and I am hopeful that the different teams that are looking at the problem will be able to come up with some solution. Now on with the days activities.

We got the girls up this morning and though it was a little on the unusual side, to have them here on a Thursday, it all felt very much like it was a Tuesday or Wednesday (maybe even a Monday). They both got up, a little slowly and we were out the door with the time needed to get to school on time. The funny part is that no matter how "tired" they claim to be in the morning, when we are going to school, they both take off and kind of race each other, to see who can get to the entrance first. Typically Stacy wins, though I think Jackie is starting to pick up a little speed. All the while, Grandma and Grandpa are bringing up the rear, by a few steps.

Linda and I had a few errands to take care of this morning, and then wanted to be sure to be here, at the house, by the afternoon. Robert, Joselyn's husband, was coming over to take a look at the door of the Fusion. The handle broke yesterday, and I was unable to open it from inside, from the drivers seat - but more on that in a minute. Jason also had a couple of errands to take care of, all related to Kojak.
Kojak is still with the vet, and it looks like he will be there until Monday, at the least. The little guy is really sick, and it is taking a little longer to get him  over it than first thought. Jason wanted to go spend some time with him, and give as much support as he could. The good part is that Kojak responded to Jason very well, and when Jason came in he was noticeably happy that Jason was there. Jason also had to go out and purchase new bedding for the pup, as the doctor said the virus could still be in the old stuff, so that was another errand he had to take care of. Tomorrow, Linda is going to be cleaning the carpet and hopefully getting everything cleaned up for Kojak's return.

Now the car, on the other hand was another issue to be dealt with. Robert was able to come over and take a look at the car, and within just a few minutes, maybe 10, he had the door apart, and the unit removed. He figured out what was wrong and got a replacement part, via a phone call. Robert had one other job to go take care of, and said he would be back shortly, and he was. This time I don't think he took more than five minutes to put the new part in, and the door back together. I have to say that he is probably the most knowledgeable guy I know, when it comes to autos. I was talking with Joselyn a bit later and she told me that dealerships will sometimes call him, when they run into a particularly difficult problem, and he never fails to figure it out. I guess that is one of the reasons his own auto shop is so successful. We are so grateful that we have gotten to know them, as they have become truly good friends. Oh, and just to be sure it is understood, the door is working just like new.

The rest of the day was much more relaxed and we really didn't do much, other than a quick run to Target and Jason's shower. Tomorrow we will be going to Pala Casino/Hotel, to see Gabriel Iglesias ('Fluffy') on stage. This is actually for Jason's birthday, which is at the end of the month, but the show is tomorrow. We were able to get tickets to the show through the Gary Sinise Foundation, and Jason is very happy about going. Fluffy is one of Jason's favorite comedians, and has commented a couple of times that he would really like to see him, live. I saw that he was coming to the area (Pala) and spoke with the Gary Sinise Foundation about it. The Foundation always seems to want to do all they can to help Jason, and I am very pleased with the out come. One other thing, because we will be spending a night at the Pala Resort-Hotel, I won't be posting tomorrow. Thank you, for all the continued support and prayers. Take care and stay positive.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

April 29, 2015

Another day of life in the fast lane for the Ross family, down in San Diego. We got up to get the girls ready and out the door, for school. As usual, it was organized chaos, and the girls had great fun (as did Grandma and Grandpa). We got to their respective classes and then came right back to the house, so we could get breakfast for Jason. It was also a good time for me to get out on my bike, again, and get in a nice little 19+ miles. It was a very nice ride out to the beach and then around Fiesta Island, then back to the house. While I was on my bike ride Linda took Jackie to her weekly Wednesday speech therapy.

Jason wanted to take care of some errands he has been wanting to get done for the past week or so, and so once he was done eating he brought out Gracie's bedding and decided it was time to get it down to the laundromat, so that it could be cleaned. With Kojak being sick, I guess Jason wanted to be sure he could provide the cleanest of environments for the new puppy, as well as for Gracie and the rest of the family.

Linda and I had to get up to Oceanside, as we both had appointments today, and the funny thing is, they were both kind of close to each other, physically, so it worked out very well. Linda's appointment was with one of the local businesses, and I had a dermatology appointment at the VA. Both of us are doing well and no problem to worry about right now.  After the appointments were done we called Anthony and Angelica, to see if they were going to be home (they live in Oceanside) and to see if they were interested in heading up to Fallbrook. As it turned out, they did want to go with us to check out the progress of the house. The house is looking excellent, and (drum roll please) the exterior of the house has the first application of stucco, and the texturing work on the sheet rock has begun.  All the walls are now completely defined, and my guess is that they will soon be painted!

After our quick visit we jumped back in to the Fusion (our car) and headed over to get some early dinner - or late lunch. Both Anthony and Angelica were very impressed with the house and how fast they are moving on getting it built. I guess the next biggest question to going to be ... "What does the paint look like in the house? And, when will it be fully painted? We left the property and headed over to Tekila and I had one of those great bowls of soup, and Linda had her favorite - - fish tacos.

We actually had to get going, as the girls were coming back to Jason's place, to spend the night. We will again take them to school, and then they will head back to their mom' place. I did get some pictures taken today, though I think they won't be down loaded until tomorrow. Thank you, for all the continued support and prayers. Take care and stay positive.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

April 28, 2015

One of the things that we were dealing with over these past several weeks was making sure we had the right amount of medical supplies for Jason. I have written about it a few times, and as an update to that small drama - we now have plenty of supplies, and in fact, some items that we don't need, and fortunately, those are only a few. I am hopeful that going forward they have been able to iron out the kinks and we won't run into those supply gaps as we had in the past.

Today was a bit like yesterday, quiet and comfortable for the most part. It is Taco Tuesday, so we had that to look forward to, for most of the day, and the girls really like their Taco Tuesday. The one thing that has happened that is a little more on the concern side, is that Kojak is not feeling well, and we had to take him to the doctor. Actually, Jason had made the appointment already, for a well puppy check up, only this time the puppy wasn't well. He is now on some antibiotics and we are expecting him to be feeling much better in a matter of a few days.

One thing that did happen was that the Gary Sinise Foundation was at a fundraiser function in the Midwest somewhere (sorry I don't remember exactly where it took place) and a presentation was made to a good sized audience and it went well. I found out that one of the topics highlighted by that presentation was us. More and more people are learning about Jason and his family, including Linda and I, kind of makes me feel humbled, though I hope it was helpful in raising awareness of those that are still in need of support.

Tomorrow I am looking to get a nice bike ride in the morning - after the girls are dropped off. Then a little later in the day, Linda and I are headed back up to Fallbrook. We like to get up there to check on the progress of the house and see just what is going on that is new. This is so very exciting to us, as well as the rest of the family. The girls constantly talk about when they get their rooms, so we just like to stay on top of all that is going on with the build. I will do my best to get more pictures posted, and to continue to share our excitement. Thank you, for all the continued support and prayers. Take care and stay positive.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

April 26, 2015

Today has been one very relaxed and quiet Sunday. About the only thing we did, or maybe I should say, "didn't" do was go to church. I got up at about 06:30 and got out on my bike. I wanted to get in a few miles and managed to do 16+ miles. I returned to the house and fixed some breakfast for Jason and I, and then went up to see what Linda was doing. It was almost 09:00 and I figured she needed to get up, so that there would be plenty of time to go to church. What I didn't plan on was that she wasn't feeling well. I checked her out and she didn't have a temperature we needed to worry about, just that she didn't feel right, and she wanted to just stay down, and she did. By the time everything was settled it was well past going to church, so I just didn't go.

Other than a quick trip to Target, where I picked up a few things, and Jason taking the dogs for a walk, we all just stayed home. Kojak, Jason's new pup is still a little on the nervous side, though he seems to be slowly warming up to us. He's gotten a bit more familiar with the leash and doesn't fight it as much, so I figure it will take a couple more weeks, and then he'll be feeling more like one of the family. I have posted a picture (below), so that all of you can see what he looks like, and as a reminder, he is almost 15 weeks old now. What has really been a blessing ... he hasn't had an accident in the house, yet, and really enjoys going out side with Jason.

Linda went to bed early this evening, and I think I might turn in a little early as well. Tomorrow I will be going down to the DMV with Jason to get his disability plates for the van. With all the streamlining that has been done in the government offices, it now takes forever to get things done. We'll (Jason is planning on going with me) get there early and see how long it takes. Thank you, for all the continued support and prayers. Take care and stay positive.

Kojak's first day, hiding under a chair

House is getting readied for exterior work

Walking through the hosue with our friend Kare - Yes, the walls are sheet rocked!

A picture from the upper northern corner of Jason's property

Linda and I enjoying our time together as the house is built.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

April 25, 2015

Got up this morning with the full intention of going out for a bike ride, and maybe getting in 25 miles or so. Didn't happen though, I got busy doing some things around the house and before I knew it, it was nearly 10:00, and that didn't give me enough time to do anything but a very short ride, and then I decided to just head over to Trader Joe's, to pick up a few things. Jason and I were expecting some guests at about 13:00 (1pm) and I realized that I had no munchies or drinks - other than water and milk. Linda was still out with Karen, and though Karen was leaving today I didn't know what time she was going to be getting back home.

After getting back from Trader Joe's we were ready and there was still plenty of time, so I kicked back and started watching some T.V., Modern Marvels was on, and they were showing the top 100 things that impacted the development of humans on Earth. Some of them were very interesting, like the Rosetta Stone, and Tesla's earthquake machine. I think though, that they were correct in selecting the number one item, and that was the Bible (Gutenberg's Press was also in the list, mostly because of the printing of the Bible). It was a fun and interesting program and I learned a bit more, so I was very happy with it, and at about the time they were coming to the number one item, it was now 13:00 (1pm), and I noticed that Linda had just parked the car. I went to open the door and see if she needed any help and she said, "Hello, and look who I found." It was the folks from Cal Poly.

Professor Lily Laiho and three students, James, Matthew and Jim (I think I got their names right), all from the Quality of Life program, where they work to improve the life of one or more people with their engineering creations. In Jason's case, it is to come up with a better seating solution than what he currently has. I was very pleased to see Linda, as she frequently sees aspects of things different and more clearly than I do, and always helpful in these discussions. The best part of this discussion, though, is that Jason did more of the talking than ever, and I was pleased to see him do this. The team asked a number of questions and took a number of measurements and a bunch of pictures. They stayed for about 90 minutes and then headed on back. They said that they will be coming back down from time to time, as well as communicating via phone, email and Skype. However, if there was a desire for us to get up to Cal Poly, they would be happy to show us around and we just might take them up on that offer.

The rest of the evening was relaxed and Jason worked a little with Kojak, his new dog, and we all had dinner by the dinning room table. We had a great family type discussion and I really felt almost like it was back like it would have been, had it not been for that I.E.D. Kojak is still a little nervous around us and likes to hide a bit, but then it has only been 1-day. I'm sure over the next couple of weeks he will be getting more warmed up to us. Gracie is doing her best to make him feel welcome, so with all of us working together it will be just a matter of time.

One last thing - a number of you have contacted me and said that you were unable to make comments. I believe you should be able to now, if you are still experiencing difficulties, please contact me and I will do my best to figure out why. Thank you, for all the continued support and prayers. Take care and stay positive.

Friday, April 24, 2015

April 24, 2015

Today was a very interesting day, and a change to the Ross household. We have a "new" member, and I'll get to that in a little bit. First, it began with me getting up and going down and checking on Jason, to see what he was interested in, for breakfast. It was going to be a busy day, so a relatively quick and easy breakfast would be best, and we both had a bowl of Cheerios. We had to get ready for the flight up north.

Neither of us really knew where the plane was taking off from, though we did have the address. Because we hadn't been there in the past we wanted to leave a little on the early side, and we did. As it turned out, we found it despite the directions the GPS was giving - it wanted us to go in the opposite direction of where it was, and I attribute that to signal interference, since we were right next to an airport. Anyway, we got to the building for Crownair, where we were to meet up with the pilot and crew for our trip ... we just happened to get there 1/2 an hour early. And that was okay, as the weather wasn't raining, at least not yet.

We met the pilot and crew and they were all great guys (Craig, Doug, and John), and the ground crew was very helpful as well. There was even another gentleman there, regrettably I don't recall his name, just that he is a former Navy Seal and he wanted to meet Jason (he gave Jason a challenge coin and a shirt), though he wasn't going on the trip. They told us the plane was ready and we all got on and we were off. Getting on, was a little different, as they had this lift system that allowed Jason to actually roll up on to a platform and then they lifted him up to the plane and he rolled on to the plane. Probably the easiest and best method we've encountered yet.

The ride was pretty exciting, as there was a little turbulence at both the take off and landing, and as one might expect, Jason does not like being bounced around. We were just very pleased that it was only for a couple of moments, and everything else went very smoothly. We flew into Yolo County Airport, and the folks there were very helpful as well. From what we could see and from what the pilots were saying, it is a very nice airport, and they intend to fly into it again. It is pretty much out in the middle of no where, yet very modern looking and well taken care of. The one down side is that we took longer to get off the ground than originally planned, and then we also hit some very strong head wind and that added an additional 30 minutes to our travel.

From there we jumped in to the van that we rented from Ability Center of Sacramento. They had delivered the van and left it there for our use, even though we were over an hour late.  When we came back I just left it at the airport for them to pick up, probably tomorrow.  Pretty amazing folks, and trusting, and I like that. We drove to the address that we were given, to pick up the puppy, and this is where things kind of went a little wrong. There was no answer at the door, and we weren't sure what to do next, other than try to reach the person we were told would be there. Jason sent a text message, made a phone call and sent an email - no response to any of it. We were now standing across the street, because that's where the shade tree was, and I said I was going to go back across the street to knock on the door again. This time, when no one answered, and I started to walk back over to Jason, an Animal Control officer drove up and asked me if I lived in the house. I explained to her why I was there and that we were attempting to pick up a dog for Jason. She got involved because they, the county Sheriff and Animal Control were trying to get in touch with her. Actually, a Sheriff Deputy showed up a short while later and he was finally able to get someone to answer the door. Jason and I had been there for nearly two hours by now, and we were thinking we needed to get going, because Stacy was part of a concert at the school, and we wanted to be there.

Well, it took about another 30 minutes and we finally got the puppy. He, Kojak is his name, is a very cute little guy with huge feet, and he is the newest member of the family that I was talking about at the beginning. We headed back to the airport and flew back down to San Diego, and soon found out that Stacy was sick and won't be going to the performance. Actually, I am kind of glad that Jason was able to just lay back down (after a shower) and get some rest, he already had enough for one day. I made a simple soup and sandwich dinner and we called it a day. Thank you, for all the continued support and prayers. Take care and stay positive.