Iwo Gima

Iwo Gima
Marine Corps Marathon

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.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

May 3, 2016

A good day today, as a milestone of sorts was achieved - - - by Jason. He went to the gym over at the Wounded Warrior Battalion on Camp Pendleton, and got a chance to work out. He worked with a few other guys and with a physical therapist, and most importantly, he had a good time. There was an opportunity for one of the therapists to work on his shoulders and he felt a great deal better after having them worked on. Because of the positive nature of the visit he is wanting to go more often and on a regular basis. I will be going with him for most of the visits, and assisting him with a couple things, but for the most part it is all Jason.

I think the opportunity to work with other Marines, again, was a good feeling for him, as well. I guess the funniest part was when he got there, there was a new "receptionist" who challenged him and asked if he was an alum of the battalion. Jason said he was and then a few of the guys came out and one of them knew Jason from the past and it was all positive after that.

The other stuff for today was that the girls went to school and Linda and I had some things to be taken care of. The house is continuing to look better all the time, just as Jason is continuing to improve every day. Also, right after the girls were dropped off at school the three of us (Jason, Linda and me) went to breakfast and then to look at RVs. We're thinking about how we can get one so that we can use it for our future travel, as a family. It seems like it is the best solution for any kind of long distance travel we might have to do. With a modified RV we can all travel together and be comfortable. It is something for the future, though we're looking around now to get some ideas. Thank you, for all your continued support and prayers. Take care and stay positive.

Friday, April 29, 2016

April 29, 2016

Yesterday, Linda and I took off, in the morning, to go up to her folks place, just a little north of here (and south of Los Angeles). They needed some help with a couple of items, at their home, and it also gave us an opportunity to just spend some time with them; something we don't get to do as often as we'd like. And, as a result of us taking off, Jason was on his own. We were able to stay for a very nice dinner and then we got to watch the new Gary Sinise show, Criminal Minds - Beyond Borders, with them. They had recorded it specifically so we could watch it together.

Actually, Jason was only on his own for about an hour, but it still felt kind of good to know that he was getting healed up enough that there really wasn't much that could happen in that time frame, that would put him in jeopardy of any kind. Joselyn, whom I've mentioned in this blog several times, was able to come to the house and spend the day with Jason, and as it turned out, her son Bobby was able to come up with her. Bobby and Jason have become pretty good buddies and share many of the same likes and dislikes, and Bobby is awesome when it comes to cleaning guns. Jason had both of them helping him do a few things he has been wanting to do, and was reluctant to ask us to do extra work for him. The Wounded Warrior Family Support organization is providing the funds that allow Joselyn to come to the house and this way she is compensated, yet it provides a very flexible schedule, and that is something we very much need.

We returned from our visit with Linda's parents a little after 21:00 (traffic really wasn't too bad for the most part, and the drive home only took about 80 minutes) and apparently Joselyn and Bobby had left just a short while ahead of us. We came in to the house and did our best to not make too much noise, and it was a good thing - - - Jason was asleep. We took care of a few things and then we were also in bed, about an hour or so later. We talked with Jason this morning and he was full of all kinds of energy, telling us about all the different things he was able to get accomplished and it made us feel pretty good. We are always concerned about taking off, and knowing that he not only had a good time, he was also safe.

This weekend we have the girls with us, and we plan on making this a fun weekend for all of us. Not sure of everything we'll do, but I do know that they want to go to Linda Vista Park, which is close by and is now one of their favorite places. Linda is already gearing up for Summer, and looking for activities for them, and my guess is that she'll be keeping them pretty busy. Thank you, for all the continued support and prayers. Take care and stay positive.

Monday, April 25, 2016

April 25, 2016

It has been a week, and there really isn't a great deal of an update to post. Jason's wounds are improving on a steady basis, and I am hopeful that they will be closed soon. I know this has been said before, but with the new prosthetic it looks like it might actually happen this time. Once that is done, then we can move on to the next step, whatever that happens to be.

I been busting my tail working on the property. We have about 2 1/2 acres of land, and much of that is simply covered in weeds and small woody type plants. They don't look particularly good, and they are a fire hazard, going into the summer. I want to eliminate as much as I can, before it gets too hot. I have managed to knock down about half the open land, and will continue on the other land, beginning tomorrow - I hope. It rained pretty good tonight, so the land may not be to friendly to walk on with the mower I'm using. The land can be steep in some areas, so I have to be careful. Worst case, the rain will put me back a day or two.

Linda has been working pretty hard too, keeping up with the house and making sure Jason's area (mainly his bedroom) stays clean. With his two dogs it can be quite the challenge. Just as she finishes cleaning the two dogs run outside and get all dirty again and bring a bunch of it back in with them. They both are loving and great dogs, however, they are completely and totally - - - dogs.

The girls are growing so fast that we can almost see it from day to day. They are doing well in school, Jackie is receiving resources; classroom support, Speech, and Occupational Therapy, and she has made some significant strides this past year. Stacy is keeping up with her lessons, she enjoys her teacher and  reading is her favorite subject. We have been faced with challenges, in that when the girls have been with us this year, they have missed one (1) day. That day happened to be the house dedication, and it was important for them to be there, and it was an excused absence. When they have not been with us, they have missed MANY days (a total of more than 3-weeks), with most of them being unexcused. However, I think the school year will end on a positive note, so I'm hopeful for next year. Thank you, for all your continued support and prayers. Take care and stay positive.

Monday, April 18, 2016

April 18, 2016

We made it back from our five day "vacation" to Livermore, and we had a wonderful time. We were able to take care of the personal business (getting our taxes filed and getting our house ready to sell - it is on the market); we saw many of our friends, though not all of them (only so many hours in a day); and we were able to take advantage of the great weather and went on a nice group hike lead by our very knowledgeable friend, Carol E. at Sycamore Grove (saw a Great Horned Owl in one of the trees). We were even able to attend church on Sunday, the day we had to head back home, and saw many of our old church family, though not all of them.

What has made this break so much better is that Jason and the girls did all right, while we were gone, and our friends  (Joselyn B. and Joyce O.) did an excellent job. Jason's wounds even improved, a little, while we were gone, and I think they are going to continue to improve to the point of finally healing up. Speaking of healing up, Jason and I had a great conversation with one of the doctors over at Balboa Hospital, today, and he thinks that by late Fall, Jason could possibly be in the water again, and that is something Jason has wanted for these past five plus years. I will be adding more information on this as we continue in that positive direction, but for right now that's all I'm going to say.

When we saw the girls this morning they were very excited to have Grandma and Grandpa back home. They were both already asleep by the time we walked in the door last night. Linda and I checked in on Jason and the girls and told Joyce O. thank you, for all the help she provided, and within an hour later we were in bed ourselves. It truly was great getting to be back up in Livermore, but it was also, so very nice to be back in our own bed. We even got to stop and see David and his family on the way home and had dinner with them. Shortly after getting his boys to bed, we had to be on our way, and then we got home about two hours later. Thank you, for all the continued support and prayers. Take care and stay positive.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

April 16, 2016

Well, it has been a few days since my last post, and I figured it was time to get an update out, so that everyone can "know" what is going on.

First, Jason is doing well, and from what we have been told, he is doing quiet well right now, and his wounds are continuing to heal. The reason I word it that way, is because we (Linda and I) are up in Livermore right now. We asked Joselynn B. and Joyce O. to come in and help out, while we were gone, and from what we have heard they have both done an outstanding job of assisting Jason, and the girls. Linda and I came up to Livermore to take care of some personal business, such as getting our taxes done and selling our house. Yes, our Livermore house is now on the market and we just have to hope that the market will continue to be active. We have a good Realtor, John C. and he has assured us that it really shouldn't take too long to get the house to sell.

While here we also met with some friends that we haven't seen in quite a while, and we all went on a nature hike through Sycamore Grove - one of the local parks. Carol E. led the hike and pointed out a number of things for us, and even got us close enough to do some bird watching. We saw a Great Horned Owl, as well as several other birds. The wild turkeys were all out and the males were strutting their stuff, and showing off their tail feathers - it looked very cool. After the hike, Carol and her husband Rick took us to lunch. Huge and Julie also took us to lunch yesterday, and they were a part of the same group. We didn't get to see all the friends we wanted to see, but we only had so much time, and we're going to have to leave tomorrow.

Last night we were over and Mike and Karen's for dinner and saw other friends, like Judy and Joe there and tonight we had dinner with Frank and Kris. We probably should have allocated a few more days to this trip, but we need to get back down, so after church tomorrow we're heading back down to Southern California and we plan to stop at our son David's home, to see his family. It will be a good resting point for us anyway, and then we'll head back to our home with Jason. It has been a good trip for us, to give us a chance to say good-bye to Livermore and our house, and it feels more like we have some closure on this, this time.

Next time we come up we hope to get some time to visit with our son Sean, and more time to spend with our other son George. We did get to visit with George and helped him get a new phone, and he seemed to have a good time with us, as we did some running around and finally we took him to go see the new Superman vs. Batman movie. Thank you, for all the continued support and prayers. Take care and stay positive.