Iwo Gima

Iwo Gima
Marine Corps Marathon

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

February 25, 2015

Linda and I are out in Bethesda, MD, visiting with some friends and stopping in at the Walter Reed Hospital just to see some of them. Dr.  Malone made herself available to us, for a good part of the day, and even took us to lunch. We got to eat at the new galley and the food was outstanding. I had a chicken and shrimp salad that was much better than anything I expected to find. We also were able to walk around and talk with a number of the other people who know Jason and/or worked with him while he was recovering there, and they all had very positive things to say about him. We ended up spending just about the entire day there, and we are soooo glad we did.

After the initial visit we went to one of the local restaurants and waited for a few of the EOD friends that knew Jason very well. Dr. Malone drove us to the restaurant, so that we didn't have to pay for a cab, and it was kind of on her way home ... okay, she lives in the opposite direction, and it was just very nice that she did it for us. The dinner at the restaurant was very good and more importantly the time with the friends was even better. We are already talking about how we can figure out a way to come back out. I won't be posting any pictures until we get back to San Diego, so I apologize for that, but then on the positive side is that you have something to look forward too.

Tomorrow we need to work our way over to the airport so that we can catch a ride (a van shuttle) to our next stop, at the retreat. Boulder Crest. It is supposed to snow tonight, and even again in the morning, though we have been told that the snow is supposed to have stopped by the time we're to be heading to the airport so we won't have to worry about it. We'll just have to wait and see how it goes. Thank you, for all the continued support and prayers. Take care and stay positive.

Monday, February 23, 2015

February 23, 2015

Today was an interesting day, in that we are flying out tomorrow, late morning, for Virginia, to attend a retreat that Linda and I were invited to, by the EOD Warrior Foundation. The retreat is designed to help specific caregivers deal with the day-to-day stress that can be experienced, in this situation, and when I say, "specific" it is because the target group is parents, as opposed to spouses or significant others. We're both looking forward to going and attending, as it is also providing us an opportunity to go back and visit with some of the first people we encountered after Jason made it back to the States and on to Bethesda Naval Hospital (now it is called Walter Reed). We've been in contact with some of them, and we have a day set up to visit with a bunch of people, then the following day move on to the retreat, and see what that is going to be like. We're both pretty excited about going.

A couple of the first groups of people we met at Bethesda, besides the Marines, was Semper Fi Fund group, who still continues to help us out, and the other was the EOD Wounded Warrior Foundation (Now EOD Warrior Foundation). Both of them helped Linda and I when we were having the greatest challenges, and still trying to figure out what had happened, and what was our life going to be now. We are so grateful for all the support these, and so many other groups have provided us, and when the opportunity presents itself I will do what I can to try to repay all the kindness.

Now more about why today was interesting. The girls went to school, as they normally do, and even managed to get to their respective classes a little early. When Linda and I made it back to the house we began focusing on making sure we had all the supplies we needed and clothes to wear. Here in San Diego, by the Bay, we don't get too much snow, or even cold weather or any kind. As a result all our cold weather stuff is buried in boxes, kept in storage somewhere. A year from now (I hope sooner) we will have most, if not all of that stuff unpacked and put where it belongs. For now, though we had to see what we have available and then purchase those items we need. I think we did a pretty good job of pulling it all together.

There were a number of other issues we needed to get done, and some logistics to make sure was in place, so that we could be comfortable being gone for so long - we'll be gone for about a week. In the past, the longest we've been away from Jason is three days, and then we were relatively close and could be back pretty quickly. This time we are headed across the country, and getting back quickly, would be a little more of a challenge.

Tonight Linda has been focused on making sure all our bags are packed the way she wants them to be, and that we don't forget anything. I've learned over the years to just get out of the way when she gets into this mode and do my best to be supporting (i.e. I go get the stuff she needs, when it isn't sitting at hand). We will be going to the airport in the morning, with Jason taking us, and then we'll be on our way. We come back about a week later and we should be all refreshed and recharged. I don't know how well we'll be able to keep up with the blog, so please don't be upset if there is a gap in posts. Thank you, for all the continued support and prayers. Take care and stay positive.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

February 22, 2015

Apologies to all you regular readers out there, as I was just a bit too tired to post last night - and below is why I was tired, as well as an update for today.

Yesterday began with us getting up and getting ready for Stacy's soccer game. We had plenty of time to do this, and that was good, because I made a wrong turn on the way to the game and spent an extra 10 minutes getting there. As it was, we made it to the game just in time for Stacy to "check-in" with the coach, and then get put on the field. Of course there was a silver lining to arriving late; some of the vehicles from the previous game had left, and that provided closer parking spaces, and we didn't have to walk quite so far.

The game was really quite fun and the kids (on both teams) seemed to have a great time. There was a solid improvement with their skills, and Stacy got in a couple of very good kicks, though there were no shots-on-goal. At the end of the game the score was either 3 - 2 or 4 - 3, and aside from a couple of the parents, I don't think anybody cared much. When the teams did their traditional cheers for the other team the parents all lined up to form "the tunnel" and all the players got to run through it. By "all the players", I mean all of them, from both teams.

After the game we were off to Linda's parents' house, so that we could celebrate Joe's 80th birthday. I know I reported on his birthday once already, but what the heck, he can have as many birthday parties as he wants, as far as I am concerned. By the way, his real birth date is February 24, so I may mention it again in another post. We arrived at their house at about 13:45 (1:45pm), and this gave us a chance to go in and wind down just a little. It also gave me a chance to eat some of the goodies before anyone else got there... I think I'm going to need to find some exercise time over these next several days, no matter how busy I get. At the party were 10 of their great-grand-children, with a few more unable to attend. Of the grand-kids, most of them were there also, and Linda was their only child to be able to make it. I'm sure there will be other opportunities to have the family all there, and that will be a very cool thing indeed. Jason wasn't able to go this time as there isn't a way for him to get into their home yet, though we're discussing ways to build a ramp so that he can.

Joe grilled a bunch of steaks and Jess prepared an amazing spread of food, and snacks and everything was very delicious. We did bring home some of the left overs, as did some of the others. It was really good for us to get to see and spend some time with David, Miriam and their two boys, Dylan and Ethan. We don't get to see our grandsons often enough, but then that's probably how most grandparents feel. This was also a great opportunity for all the cousins to get together, and finally get a chance to meet more of them. Funny part is, not all of them were there, so when we finally do get together, with the ENTIRE family, they'll have new people to meet again.

The party was still going pretty well when we had to get going. There was an hour-plus drive for us to get home, and it was after 20:00 (8pm) when we left. Both of the girls had a great deal of fun, and loved playing with all their cousins, and it showed shortly after leaving - they slept most of the way home.  When we did get home Linda carried Jackie and I carried Stacy in and they went straight to their beds. Neither of them were up too early this morning, though we did manage to still get up with plenty of time to get ready and get to church.

Jason spent most of the day laying down and continuing to rest. He did get up from time to time and even this evening the two of us went to Costco. It was starting to drizzle out, just as we were leaving and Jason made the comment that the drive to Costco was probably going to be fun, since most of the people around here don't seem to know how to drive when the rain starts. As it was, it wasn't too bad, and we managed to get to and from Costco without any traffic problems; and, on top of that, we also managed to get out of Costco for less than $200.00, and that usually doesn't happen.

The rest of the day was spent trying to figure out what we, Linda and I, need for our Virginia trip that is coming up in a couple of days. Linda had to run down to pick up a couple of things, and most of that is related to winter, or cold weather clothes. Funny thing is that a store she called said that a large shipment of winter items arrived late in the season, so they have a large selection still, and that made Linda's efforts a little easier. Some of our dinner tonight was left overs from the party dinner that we had last night, and I wish we had taken more of the potato salad, Mom always makes it and it is always sooooo good. Thank you, for all the continued support and prayers. Take care and stay positive.

Friday, February 20, 2015

February 20, 2015

Jason got out and spent some time doing one of his favorite activities... Shooting. I've gone with him a couple of times in the past, but not today. Today I had a few other chores I needed to get done, and also I needed to pick up the girls today, after they got out of school. Anyway, Jason had fun and I can just imagine how things went.

Jason is a bit of perfectionist, when it comes to a few things, and one of those is his shooting. While others can be seen, on either side of him shooting and squeezing off shots about one ever two seconds, Jason will spend 10 seconds (even more) with each shot, just so he knows his sights are tuned in correctly. Once he is comfortable with the setting of the sights then he will begin shooting more rapidly, but the first part can take up to a half an hour, and those he shoots with are always standing back just watching him. Its funny too, because none of them are bothered by him taking the extra time, as his shots are very accurate and he is amazing to watch. The irony that today was when he was shooting his M-1. While he was using it, it went to automatic rapid fire and pretty well shocked him  at first. Fortunately, the range master was right there and checked out his rifle and was puzzled a bit afterward. There is no setting for automatic, and it shouldn't be able to do that kind of fire, so everyone was puzzled. As it turned out, Jason just put the rifle away and will be working on it tomorrow, after he takes it apart.

Tonight Linda and I took the girls over to visit with our cats, and that was kind of fun. Both of the cats are very well cared for by  their wonderful foster family; Anne, Glenn and their son, Nick.  Candy is still stand-offish and Pumpkin is as friendly as ever. We're so looking forward to the house being finished, so we can come and live with us again. I think once that happens Linda will begin to feel a little more complete.

After the visit we came home, and it was late enough that the girls went straight to bed after a story. Jason was already asleep, so we didn't bother him, and now we're making our way to bed, ourselves. Thank you, for all the continued support and prayers. Take care and stay positive.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

February 19, 2015

Just a quick post, as it is getting late and I am honestly kind of tired right now. Linda and I got up before 07:00 and I went down to fix Jason some breakfast. He wanted some cream of wheat, so that's what I fixed, and since I was making it, I made sure I had enough for me, too. Afterward I decided that I needed to get out on the bike and went for 30+ mile ride, up over Mission Gorge. It has a series of hills that are very challenging and I'm glad I went - my legs, on the other hand, would rather I had stayed home and did some reading or something. Anyway, it was a fun ride and I still managed to get back home before noon.

A little while later - after lunch and a shower - Linda and I went to do some errands, and to look at a couple of consignment stores that she found. One in particular has all kinds of neat stuff in it, and I think we will be going back there again, probably a few times. One of the things I mentioned to Linda, while we were driving back to the house is, "This is what retirement feels like." Today we were not rushed for anything and just simply enjoying spending some time together. I think I may do this retirement thing for a number of years.

The rest of the day was also relaxed, and even Jason got out to take care of a couple of errands he wanted to do. He was supposed to go to an appointment but was contacted shortly before the appointment, and it had been cancelled. The time of this call couldn't have been better, as it allowed him, and Linda, to get out and go do some other shopping (this actually happened while I was out on my ride). They came in to the house, shortly after I got back from my ride, and both of them were in very good and positive moods.

Tomorrow should be like today, as there really isn't much scheduled, other than to get out with some friends and go shoot at the range on Miramar Marine Air Station. I have to get back in time to pick up Stacy and Jackie from school, but I will be able to be there for most of it. Thank you, for all the continued support and prayers. Take care and stay positive.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

February 18, 2015

Today, Linda and I worked in the garage for a few hours, getting things straightened out and reorganized. The stuff out there can be reduced some, and I'm sure that if we had the time to go through all of it we would find a bunch of it that could be donated or simply tossed out. As it was we were able to get rid of a few boxes, and we didn't through anything away. It was just a matter of consolidating some of the containers/boxes. It also allowed us a change to do some basic cleaning and sweeping of the floor. I did get a chance to speak with an old friend - one of the engineers who worked for me while at Sun Microsystems. I guess we talked for 15 minutes or more, and did some catching up, and then he told me he was possibly changing jobs. I was glad to hear this, as I think he would be happier as a developer more than a technical support person. He basically asked me if I'd be a reference and I said I would. A short time after that call I was speaking with a recruiter about him and gave him a very good rating.

Not much else went on today, other than Linda and I went to the Ash Wednesday supper at the church. It was nice, and we got to have dinner with a few of our friends - maybe 100 or so. Everyone seemed to have had a good time, and Linda and I were able to meet a few new people. After the dinner/supper we came back to the house and simply relaxed. I did help Jason with his shower, as I attempt to do this every evening, and Linda and I got to watch an old Leslie Nielsen movie/comedy, and I don't even remember the name. I told Linda that to enjoy this movie you could not let the amazingly low intelligence bother you. It is a comedy, after all. We managed to get through it.

Tomorrow brings another day and another bike ride. Not sure where I'm going right now, but I will be putting forth the effort to get some miles down. Thank you, for all the continued support and prayers. Take care and stay positive.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

February 17, 2015

Today was an interesting day - though it did start out being a normal Tuesday (okay, it's Fat Tuesday, so it should be a little different, no matter what). The girls got up and lunches made and Linda and I walked them to school. Shortly after getting home I started making preparations for going out on a bike ride, and Jason was making arrangements to take Mr. Jingles to the vet.

I needed to head over to the DMV, and I was sooooo glad I had an appointment already set. With yesterday being a holiday the number of folks wanting to get something done there doubled, and that meant the line was literally wrapped around the building. I started out by riding out to Mission Bay and then on up Washington Street. This was the first time for going up Washington, and for good reason. It is a very steep hill and goes for close to a mile. The cool part was that I was able to get all the way to the top, without stopping, and the top was the 13th mile of the ride. I got to the DMV and saw all the people there and thought, "this is probably going to take forever." I was wrong. I was able to lock my bike to a fence and was in and out in less than 30 minutes. Moral of the story - if you're going to go to the DMV, make an appointment.

Jason's trip wasn't quite so nice. As it turned out, Mr. Jingles has some issues with his paws and we're having to treat him with medications. I hope it is something like a simple infection or something, so that it can be cleared up rather quickly. For a rat, Mr. Jingles is a pretty cute little guy, and actually pretty friendly. Jason also brought home some other stuff, where he went and did a little shopping while he was out.

This afternoon Stacy had a soccer practice and Jackie went along so she could play at the playground area that was close by. When that was over we came back to the house and we had Taco Tuesday. I think maybe next week we may make a change to the menu but that is still to be seen. Linda and I will actually be on our way to Virginia by then, so we won't be here to cook the meal. We have that covered, but we will still have to plan it out.

The rest of the evening consisted of the girls getting a bath and Jason reading bedtime stories to them. Once everyone was in bed and resting it was time for Linda and I to get a little rest and relaxation in. There was a special on about the Titanic, and we both kind of like to learn more about the actual events of that terrible incident, so we watched it, and that was the day. Thank you, for the continued support and prayers. Take care and stay positive.

Monday, February 16, 2015

February 16, 2015

The morning began with the girls finally showing up at about 10:05 - there was no school today so they were brought straight over to the house. Both of them were excited to be here and Jackie ran up to me and immediately wanted me to pick her up. Of course when Stacy saw this she wanted to do the same thing. . . Linda to the rescue! Linda picked up Stacy and both were happy - and so was I.

Shortly after they arrived Jason and I took them over to the parking lot of the local elementary school and let them ride their bicycles. Both of them are getting pretty good with the riding, though I would sure like to give them more time to practice. There really just isn't too many places around here for kids to learn how to ride. Once we get up to Fallbrook, with Jason's new house, we'll have more space and opportunity for them to ride. While we were there the girls also went over to the grassy area and decided it was great fun to run around and pick up tree leaves. I have to admit I don't know what kind of trees are there, but some of the leaves of these trees are very large and both girls seemed to have fun gathering them together and building a small pile.

We came back home and Linda made lunch for the girls then they went to take a "brain-rest" - we used to call it a nap, but that sounds like you're going to go to sleep, and they don't want to do that (they usually sleep for a couple of hours). The rest of the day was spent cleaning up a few things, and I even cleaned out Mr. Jingles' cage. Jason spent most of the rest of the day in bed, though he did get up a few times and came out to visit with us. He is in pretty good spirits and made a point of telling us of a couple of things he saw on the web that were funny.

Tonight was also relaxed and just a matter of continuing to just enjoy life. Tomorrow I have an appointment with the DMV (I don't like to do anything with the DMV, so an appointment makes it a little easier), and Jason has an appointment for Mr. Jingles, as it is his annual check up. Mr. Jingles has got to be one of the best-taken-care-of rats around. Both appointments are at about the same time so we go in opposite directions, to start the day. Of course this is after Linda and I take the girls to school. Thank you, for all the continued support and prayers. Take care and stay positive.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

February 15, 2015

 I then got up and started to get ready to go for a bike ride (I know, what a surprise). Only problem with that was that my front tire was flat again, and it is the same tire that was flat last time. I pumped it back up and let it stand for a little while and it didn't seem to have any pressure loss, so I went out for a ride. Of course it wasn't going to be a long ride, as it is Sunday and Linda and I want to be able to leave for church at about 10:00. Anyway, I rode up this mildly challenging hill, and shortly after getting to the top I stopped and yes the tire was much softer now. I decided to just pump it back up and see if I could make it back home. Hey, it made it all the way up the hill, why not go for a ride back down on the same tube. I did manage to get most of the way back down and had to stop for a light and decided to check the tire and again it was softer than I would like. I pumped it up again and rode the rest of the way it. Total ride was only about 13 miles.

When I got home Linda and Jason were in the kitchen, just beginning to fix some breakfast. Linda had said she was going to be getting some exercise in this morning but was delayed because she was fixing some breakfast for Jason. Jason immediately started saying, "She's avoiding the exercise. She's avoiding the exercise!" I then told them of my ride and my challenges with the tire. Jason then started to give me a hard time by imitating me standing on the side of the road, pumping up the tire. Actually he did a pretty good job, including the sound effects, and we all had a good laugh. I was just happy to see that he was in very good spirits this morning and that he wanted to give both of us a hard time. I take it that it means he's feeling good about everything in general.

A little while later Linda and I went to church and enjoyed the fellowship, and then came home.  We had a few other things to get done today, and figured we had plenty of time to take care of it. We are working our way through some of the boxes in storage, looking for specific items and in some cases doing some repacking. Actually it is good that we're doing this, as we are going to need to be going through all the stuff over these next several months, before we get into Jason's new house. Anyway, we were able to get rid of a couple of boxes, mostly through consolidation, and donations. I think we have been able to get a better idea of what we have as well as where it is.

Tonight is just a continuation of the day, and we had a nice relaxing evening. Jason stayed in bed most of the day, though he did go out and take Gracie for a short walk. Tomorrow is Presidents' Day, and we get the girls in the morning - school is closed for the holiday. I plan on taking them over to the school area, where they can ride their bikes in relative  safety from autos. Thank you, for all the continued support and prayers. Take care and stay positive.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

February 14, 2015 - Happy Valentine's Day

Today started out a little different, as it is Valentine's Day. Linda and I got up before 07:00 and were soon down stairs getting things going for the day. I made some hot cereal for Jason and I (Linda fixed something else for herself) and she was soon off to pick up a few things at the store. We needed to get going early because Stacy had a soccer game today, and we wanted to be there for her. Also, Linda's parents were going to be coming over to go to the game with us. There is an event at the fair grounds, and as a result traffic was horrible on I5 South. I mention this because Joe and Jess (Linda's parents) had to drive through that mess, just to get to the house. We still managed to get to the game, well before it was over, so it all worked out. What was particularly nice about this one was that the venue was very ADA and that made it much easier for Jason to get in and out. Not all of the locations are quite as "friendly."

Linda's dad, Joe, is celebrating his 80th birthday on the 24th, and we won't be here (we're headed to Virginia), so Linda asked that we be allowed to celebrate it with them today, after the game. It was so nice to have them over and very relaxed. Jason was able to take part in the celebration with us and it worked very well. Linda is good at putting things like this together and she did a great job with this one. The one down side was that the girls are not with us, so they didn't get to come back to the house and be a part of the "party."

Jason is doing pretty good right now, and seems to be working towards healing again. He is spending more time laying down and relaxing, and that is what is needed to get those wounds to close up. We don't have a bunch of activities planned, just the regular doctor visits, so we should be able to see some significant progress over these next several days. When we do go, on the 24th, we have Joselyn coming in to help with Jason and the house, and she is already familiar with what needs to be done, so it should work out. We're only going to be gone for a few days anyway, so it should be okay.

The evening was Jason watching one of his NetFlix movies and Linda and I watching the latest Superman Movie, "Man Of Steel." I think it was released last year, maybe a little before that. It was a fun movie, and Linda had not seen it before. As long as you're okay with it being a comic book movie, then you should be able to enjoy it. Thank you, for all the continued support and prayers. Take care and stay positive.
Happy 80th Birthday Dad! 
Happy Valentine's Day at Stacy's Soccer Game

Friday, February 13, 2015

February 13, 2015

Not a bunch to report on today, or yesterday, other than we're all doing well and Jason is getting some extra rest. We did get a little extra time with the girls, as we were asked to pick them up after school yesterday, but that was only for a few hours, and still fun none-the-less. Today I went for a longer bike ride (27+ miles) and felt pretty good afterward. I was actually surprised at the time, as I thought I had been out longer. It was just about two hours, and pretty much that is why I came back in. If I had "known" it was only two hours I might have stayed out for another few miles. It was a good work out anyway.

Tomorrow is Valentine's Day and I hope you all have a great one. Jason, Linda and I will be enjoying a soccer game (Stacy is playing again) and then we will be going to lunch with Linda's parents, Joe and Jess to celebrate Joe's 80th Birthday. They are the two biggest and best "Valentiners" that I am proud to say I know. Thank you, for all the continued support and prayers. Take care and stay positive.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

February 10, 2015

Not much to report today, as it was quiet for the most part, and other than normal day-to-day stuff, not much happened. The girls got up this morning and I made oatmeal and packed their lunches. Linda got them up and dressed and probably had a more difficult time than I did (making oatmeal is really pretty easy ;-)). Linda and I walked them to school, came back to the house and got to looking at the plans for the house, with the idea of picking out lighting fixtures and ceiling fans. This is something we need to get finished, so as to not be a cause for any delay.

When Stacy came home from school we worked with her, on her home work and then Linda took her to her soccer practice. While Stacy and Grandma were at soccer practice Grandpa and Jackie were at the store, picking up a couple of things for Taco Tuesday - tonight! I got home with Jackie before Linda and Stacy got back home, and that was probably a good thing as it gave me a chance to just sit back and check some of my emails.

Linda and I will be headed out to Virginia in less than two weeks, to attend an EOD Caregiver Retreat. This retreat is a little different in that it is for parents who are caregivers of wounded EOD techs, so we're kind of excited about going - we've never been to one. In the email there were some things I needed to get caught up on, and we're attempting to meet up with a few people we know, while we're in the Bethesda, MD area. So far it is looking good, so I'm hopeful that all will work out and that the weather doesn't sink us.

Tonight the Tacos were good, and the girls enjoyed their tostadas. The girls don't enjoy tacos so we just make them tostadas and they're happy. As far as they are concerned they're still tacos, and in some ways they are, and it all works out. After dinner Stacy had to get her valentines ready for tomorrow, and that took her right up to bed time. Jackie's won't be needed for another two days, and we won't have to help with those.  Thank you, for all the continued support and prayers. Take care and stay positive.

Monday, February 9, 2015

February 9, 2015

This morning we got up and the day began rather smoothly. The girls were up, just a few minutes after we came down stairs, so we didn't have to go through the challenges of waking them up (sometimes they just don't want to get up in the morning, then sometimes they don't seem to mind). Linda took on getting them dressed and ready, while I made breakfast and their lunches. We normally leave the house at about 07:50, and today we were out a good 10 minutes earlier. We didn't have to walk to school any faster than normal, and in fact it allowed for some sight seeing, like finding bugs and flowers along the way. After dropping the girls off we headed back to the house, where it was time for me to fix my breakfast.

I had made some Cream of Wheat for Jason, prior to taking the girls to school, and it looked pretty good (the girls didn't want any this morning, so it was all for Jason). I decided that I should have some too, and then I could get ready for my bike ride. Linda made her own breakfast and we were both done at about the same time, so we had our breakfasts together. After that I went and got my bike to head out for a short ride, and then I was off. I got in almost 19 miles and it took me less than an hour and a half to do so. I've found some areas where there really isn't too much traffic in the early morning and that makes it much easier.

When I returned Jason was in the kitchen. This kind of surprised me, because he had taken off a little after I did, to go to an appointment at Balboa. I asked him how the appointment was and he said he hadn't gone because of significant traffic issues right at the base. Not sure what those issues were, but bottom line is that Jason didn't go, and instead went to the Pet Store to pick up a few supplies, and a new cage for Mr. Jingles. Jason set up the new cage and did the transfer of Mr. Jingles from one to the other, and did it all on his own. I did help a little with the clean up, but that was because I was going in the direction of the trash cans anyway.

The rest of the day was very laid back and comfortable and then at about 14;00 (2pm) Joselyn showed up to start her new schedule with us, again. It was really great seeing her, and felt like a missing part was back in place again. Now when Linda and I need to get up we feel much more comfortable that she is her to help him, if it is needed. We now have everything set up through the VA and they were very good about getting things going quickly.

Below are a couple of pictures of the property, though they're not much to see right now. These are the ones we took yesterday, with the girls. We will be going back on Wednesday, and be escorted around the property, so I'll be able to get some better shots. They don't want us walking around the build site, without someone there to help guide us, mostly for safety reasons. Anyway, the place does look good, and more pictures will be coming. Thank you, for all the continued support and prayers. Take care and stay positive.

Standing on the driveway, looking at the front of the lot

Signs you can see from the road

Same Signs - slightly different angle

Some strangers standing in front of the signs

Sunday, February 8, 2015

February 8, 2015

A nice relaxed day, today. I got up at about 07:00, and before Linda, and decided I would go for a short bike ride (12.5 miles). I was out and back in about 50 minutes, and I think I could have been back a little sooner, but had to deal with some traffic lights, and some traffic (not much). I had actually planned on going out for a longer ride, but as I was down stairs the girls got up and then Jason wanted to get some breakfast. I started to work on the breakfast requests and decided I should eat a little before the ride, too. Before I finished, Linda was up and she was hoping to get a few things accomplished before we went to church. As it turned out, my ride ended up shorter and Linda didn't get half the stuff she wanted done, done. We did get to church on time though... ;-)

The funny part on that was that we both forgot about the congregational meeting this morning, so when we arrived the place was packed, and we thought we were late. As we made it in to the church and saw all the people there we were trying to figure out what was going on. By the time we had done this the meeting was over and they were adjourning. The girls were very confused, to say the least. Stacy was asking why they didn't get to go to Sunday School and I had to reassure her that the school was coming up and that we were just a little early for church. It all worked out just fine, but it was a little on the comical side, to say the least.

We didn't do much else the rest of the day, except some of the normal chores around the house and then at about 15:30 (3:30pm) we decided to head out to take a look at the progress on Jason's home. Linda and I took the girls and we made it out to the property and even took a few pictures - I'll post pictures tomorrow. I am very pleased with how things are looking and feel so very grateful to the Gary Sinise Foundation for making this happen. For all those out there wondering where you might want to put those last minute donations, consider the foundation, as I know they do good stuff for a bunch of folks.

This evening was like most of the day, and we managed to simply relax a bit. The girls spent time with their daddy, and then we got them to bed. Linda read them a story and I came in to say good night. Thank you, for all the continued support and prayers. Take care and stay positive.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

February 7, 2015

Another exciting day for the Ross Family!

We got up this morning, a little on the late side (almost 08:00 when I got out of bed) and somewhat of a slower start for all of us. Of course we were still enjoying all the fun from last night, and now we were going to be headed to Balboa to be a part of the Gary Sinise Foundation (GSF) Invincible Spirit Festival (I.S.F.). Robert Irvine was also going to be there, and we were looking forward to seeing him again, as well.

We made it to Balboa, and ended up being escorted in by some of the Navy Security Police, and that was kind of cool. Shortly after arriving we came into contact with a bunch of the GSF folks, some we hadn't seen in almost a year, and that was a great start to the event. There were also several others who work at the Hospital, that we hadn't seen in several weeks, and that was fun, too. At this point we were again escorted to a conference room where Gary Sinise was waiting and we all got a chance to say, "Hi!" again, and just relax for a little bit. Then the cameras started. Gary had to go get ready for his show, and we stayed in the room with a videographer/interviewer. We finished there and walked on out and within just a few minutes Jason was surrounded by another gaggle of cameras and reporters who wanted to interview him.

Linda had stepped away, to take the girls over to the Jumpy-House, and turned to see where we were, just in time to see the reporters hooking Jason up with a microphone. They just started to interview when she sent the girls back in to tell Daddy, where they were going, and they gave him a hug. This, as you might expect, went over very well with the reporters. Myself, I was stepping back and not getting involved with the cameras any more than I need to.

We were able to get some lunch and then have a brief conversation with Robert Irvine, the celebrity chef, and then do a little wandering around. We caught up to Linda and the girls and they had just finished their lunch. I then took over for Linda, so she could spend more time with Jason and I took them to get some balloon creations. As it turned out, waiting to get balloons was a SLOW process and just as we were getting close Linda and Jason, and Angelica connected back up with us. The girls got their balloons and then we went to the stage, to claim our spot on the artificial turf and wait for the show.

Now we've been at Balboa for about 5 hours, and it is beginning to show on the girls, and on Jason. The show got started and it was fun for everybody, though I was now having to hold Stacy. Billy Wagasy had come over and helped with holding Jackie for a little while, and that kind of gave Linda a bit of a break. About four (maybe five) songs into their show Gary called for all the kids to come up on stage and let them all sing along with a song. Most of the kids were okay with it, though a couple left the stage shortly after getting up there. They all finished the song and Gary kept Stacy and Jackie up on stage with him, and the three of them took a bow together. It was really cool, and from where I was standing, it looked like they both enjoyed the lime light.

We had to get going, shortly after that, as they were still very tired by now, and running out of energy and Jason was beginning to hit a wall as well. We were able to meet up with Robert Irvine again and got some last moment pictures with him, as well as well a couple of the GSF folks. We were able to wave and say good bye to Gary, while he continued to play on stage. We got back to the house and in less than 10 minutes everyone was resting. I got back up after a short rest and in a matter of another hour or so, everyone else was back up again. I fixed a simply dinner for Jason and Linda and I had left overs, from last night. The girls wanted Dino Nuggets, so that's what we fixed for them, as well as some fruit and vegetables. Thank you, for all the continued support and prayers. Take care and stay positive.

Friday, February 6, 2015

February 6, 2015

What an amazing day it was for us. I did manage to get out and went for a run this morning. I haven't been out for a run in years - except for the moments on a treadmill, but this time I was out running on the street. I didn't go very far - just over a half mile - but then I really didn't have that much time either.

This morning we, Jason, Joselyn and myself, all went over to the VA this morning and got the final paper work together so that Joselyn can come back to work for us, on a regular basis, just like she was when Jason was an active duty Marine. There were a number of forms to fill out and some information to be provided, and over all it really wasn't to complicated or difficult to accomplish. When it was done we all felt pretty good about what had happened, and starting next week, a regular schedule will be going again for Joselyn.

The other big thing was simply getting ready for the Gary Sinise Invincible Spirit Festival that is going to be going on at Balboa Naval Hospital tomorrow. We had made some plans with a couple of the folks at the foundation to come to our place here and we'd have a barbeque tonight. They told us that we should expect to see Judy and her husband Ben and possibly Jim (I'm intentionally leaving last names off). We were excited to have all these folks come over and we wanted to provide a great meal for them, so that they would be ready for tomorrow. What happened kind of surprised us - - -  The door bell rang and I answered the door, and who should I find standing there??? Gary Sinise! He decided he would like to come by with the others, and I can not tell you how pleased we were to see him. We did not expect to see him, and considering the fact that he had to still put on a show tomorrow, it was even a bigger surprise to have him there.

The evening was excellent and the food turned out to be pretty good, though I think I could have done a better job of grilling. I wanted to get started earlier but we were out of fuel so I had to go get a couple of tanks replaced, and then we finally cranked up the grill. By the time I was in full swing on the grill, it was getting darker, so I couldn't see as well as I wanted, and on top of that one of the lights on the patio burned out (and we didn't even invite Murphy!).

We all had a great time, and you can see in the picture below that there was a nice little group here. We are looking forward to the event tomorrow, and hope to see some out friends there. Thank you, for all the continued support and prayers. Take care and stay positive.
I'm not in this picture, because I'm taking the picture

In this picture Cristen is missing and now I'm in the picture (she took the shot), and you can also see Jackie at the end of the table. Stacy actually fell asleep.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

February 5, 2015

Today was a busy day, right from the beginning. We first had a visit from the Caregiver Resource specialist, from the VA. The problem with that is that neither Jason or myself understood that BOTH Jason and I had to be available for that meeting, we both thought it would only require me to be there. Jason had another appointment at the same time. The good thing was that Mr. McMillan (that is his name) arrived early, so Jason only had to delay his departure only slightly. He only needed to speak with Jason for about 10 minutes, and the rest was with me. When we were done I worked on my bike and got the flat tire fixed. I had to get over to the bike shop to purchase a new tube, but that didn't take too long, and I actually purchased a spare to carry.

Right after Jason's appointment he was to meet with the specialists who have been working with his daughter, Jackie, for her I.E.P. (It is a development plan so that Jackie and work through some of her challenges and still not drop too far behind the other children in her class - Linda was also there, since early childhood development is her specialty, and Jason wanted her there.) Anyway, Jason had to move quickly so that he wouldn't be any later than necessary. The meeting went for a couple hours and Jason and Linda walked back to the house.

We were supposed to be going to Miramar, the Marine Air Base, for a shooting event tomorrow, but found out that it had been called off. This meant I needed to get in touch with some of the folks at the Gary Sinise Foundation (GSF), and tell them that they would not be going. Originally we had invited them, and I was their contact person. In hind sight, perhaps it is good it was cancelled, as it provides me with some extra time to prepare dinner for tomorrow, because those same folks from GSF, and a couple others, will be coming to Jason's house for dinner. We ended up going shopping for all the dinner items tonight, at Costco. It was kind of fun with just the three of us, and fortunately Costco wasn't too busy.

After returning home from Costco it was getting late and Jason treated us to dinner; it has been awhile since just the three of us have gone out to dinner. After returning home Linda and I kicked back and watched a little TV, and Jason laid back down. Jason's wounds are looking very good right now, and we're all hopeful that the left side will close completely tomorrow, or the next day at the latest, and that it will stay closed. The right side is still more challenging, and will take another couple of months to close. I will be so happy when everything is closed, and that affords Jason the comfort of knowing a source of possible infection has been closed off. Thank you, for all the continued prayers and all the support. Take care and stay positive.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

February 4, 2015

This morning we got up and took the girls to their school, and we managed to do it in a little faster manner than we usually do. This was good, too, as it provided us a bit of a luxury of walking a little slower and spending a little more time with the teachers in the respective class rooms. We don't usually spend much time with them when we drop the girls off, but it is always nice to say a few words. Today, we had the chance to actually have a short conversation with them, before many of the other kids showed up and tied up their time.

Jason and I went to his appointments this morning, right after dropping off the girls. While there he scheduled more appointments, so that he will be going the rest of the month, to PT and Wound Care, etc. It has been about a week since he was last there and I guess some of the folks hadn't seen him  in a couple of weeks (or more) and they were all making comments about his hair. He is getting a bit on the shaggy side, and he intends to let the hair continue to grow. We spoke to some about the ground breaking and the new house and all of them were very excited to hear about it, and are looking forward to completion date, so that they can actually see it.

The rest of the day was spent at the house and we really didn't do much, other than Linda and I walked over to Target. Target is a bit over a half mile away, so it was a nice walk, and I enjoyed going - and I think Linda did too. The rest of the evening was just dinner and a relaxing time with each other. Thank you, for the continued support and prayers. Take care and stay positive.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

February 3, 2015

Another day of taking care of stuff around the house, and Linda doing some major cleaning of a couple of the rooms. No appointments for Jason, and except for the work being done, it was basically a relaxed kind of day.

I went for a short bike ride, and got another flat tire. I think I need to get some new tape on the inside of the rim. The tubes seem to be getting pinched after going over some rough terrain, small pot holes and such. This has happened twice now, and no apparent reason for tube puncture, other than this. I'll need to get this taken care of in the next few days, if I want to continue getting some riding in.

Jason ran a few errands for himself, another sign of his growing independence, and it makes us feel pretty good when he does this. I guess the next big thing is finding a way to enable him to spend more time up in the chair, though I think that is going to be a bigger challenge, to say the least.

The good news that we got today was that the folks at Ford think they have figured out what needs to be done on the van, so that it will be more reliable. They had to replace a number of the modules and even come pick up our remote access fobs for reprogramming. I am optimistic that they will have all the issues figured out and completed tomorrow, and we might even get the van, though they didn't say that - I'm just optimistic. Thank you, for all the continued support and prayers. Take care and stay positive.

Monday, February 2, 2015

February 2, 2015 - Happy Ground Hog Day!

I hope you all had a great Ground Hog Day, and that the rest of the winter will be good. Here in California good would mean that it actually starts to rain, and rains for several days (weeks?). We are really low in the water levels around the state. San Francisco hasn't had a dry January in 165 years, but they did this year. If it doesn't start to precipitate there are going to be some very serious consequences for all of us.

Not much happened to day, other than my 22 mile bike ride. It was nice to get out on the bike and go for a couple of hours. I rode out to the Cabrillo National Monument, and challenged some hills, and it was fun. The real fun was the ride back down, as I was able to simply coast and nearly hit 35 mph, and it was for more than a mile at that speed (gives you an idea how steep it was going up).

The girls are with us for the next couple of days, and it is always good to have them here. Stacy and Jackie are really developing their identities and they have distinct personalities coming out, with Jackie being the more spontaneous one, and Stacy looking to get more information before making a decision. I just hope they continue in this mode, as it has been fun so far.

Jason has no appointments for tomorrow, so I might get another bike ride in, and then we'll see where the day takes us. Thank you, for all the continued support and prayers. Take care and stay positive.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

February 1, 2015

I didn't post last night, mostly because I was just tired - I get that way sometimes. There really wasn't much done yesterday, other than me picking up the final parts for Jason's new chair. We'll be taking the chair in to be fitted for the truck either tomorrow or Tuesday. We did go to see the soccer game that Stacy was supposed to be playing in, but for some reason she wasn't there. The game was fun, and the kids all had fun, AND you can see improvement in their play.

Today started out with the idea that we would be going to church this morning, but Linda inadvertently bumped a large bottle that fell on top of her bare foot. It cause her some significant pain and some swelling. I checked it out and it didn't look like anything was broken, but she did have some trouble walking on it. I did my best to take care of it and help her deal with the pain, and in the process we didn't get to go to church. By this evening the swelling was all but gone and she can walk on it much better now. If there is any sign of problems in the morning she'll have to get into see the doctor, and probably have an X-ray, but right now I don't think that is going to happen. In fact I told her that I would plan on going for a bike ride in the morning.

Jason will be going in for an appointment, with the folks at Physical Therapy, tomorrow, and I believe that is the only appointment he has. This makes it easy because we should be able to get his chair into the Ability Center to be fitted for the truck. I like the new chair, and all it's features, and with him using this new chair his old chair can go in to the VA to be fixed. The controller doesn't do all that it is supposed to do, like tilt, and that is one of those features that can be very handy for Jason while he is still healing.

We did watch the Super Bowl, this evening, and I was surprised at the out come. The final couple of minutes were very exciting and I really thought Seattle had the game. After the game, the head coach said that their last offensive play was totally his fault, and that it was meant to just use up time off the clock, and it went totally wrong, and thus New England was able to get the win. Now we'll just have to see how next season goes, and I hope the Niners are able to put a good team together, along with a good head coach. Thank you, for all the continued support and prayers. Take care and stay positive