Iwo Gima

Iwo Gima
Marine Corps Marathon

Monday, February 22, 2016

February 22, 2016

This morning I got up, pretty much at the regular time, only this time I didn't have to worry about jumping on a conference call, right away. I am no longer working, as my relationship with LongView, the company I've been working for, for the past several months, has come to an end. It was one of those things where I was hired to do a specific job for the VA, and initially I was doing that job (for about 5 months), and then the VA decided that their priorities changed, and so the team was to start working on financials and work intake. I suddenly felt like a fish out of water, and on top of that they really didn't know what they wanted, just that it needed to be fixed. I had a number of conversations with the boss, and so we agreed that at the end of 2015 we would simply terminate our relationship. I didn't feel like I was honestly contributing and I really felt uncomfortable in a constant state of catch-up. Well, I know today isn't the end of 2015, and that is because due to how things were going the date kept getting pushed out, and even today, a Monday, ended up being tacked on because the HR guy was out on this past Friday. It feels good to be done with that short chapter of my career, and now Linda and I have to decide how we move forward from here. Financially, I think we're going to be okay, and with this new house and property I'm pretty sure I'm going to be kept busy, so it should be a good transition. I'll keep you posted if anything else should change.

Today, Jason went out shooting. I would have liked to have gone with him, but I did have to deal with the exit interview, at the same time he was going. He hasn't been out shooting in several weeks, and it was good for him to get a chance to be out. Probably good for him to simply get out, on his own, too. He even left the dogs here with me. That was okay because I had plenty of things to do around here, and I foresee several days (weeks?) of things to do around here, as we approach next month's activities. On March 12, we will be celebrating Jason's 5-year anniversary of the injuries, and what we're calling 5-Alive. We've invited a bunch of people to come, and we've probably forgotten a few, so if you're reading this, and you're going to be in the area, feel free to drop by and join in on the fun and celebrating. We are living at 4399 Ramona Dr, in Fallbrook and the party begins at 11:00.

Otherwise, we're all doing well and the girls are growing fast. Both of them seem to be full of energy and very happy, so I guess we've been doing something right. Thank you, for all the continued support and prayers. Take care and stay positive.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

February 15, 2016

Yesterday was President's Day and we took the girls to the San Diego Safari Park. They had a great time as did we, and at the end of the day we were all pretty well worn out. The girls fell asleep shortly after getting in to the van, and amazingly, Linda didn't fall asleep. I think she wanted to be sure I didn't get lost, or get tired. Anyway, it was a great day and one of those days where we were very happy to be members of the zoo.

Today it was back to the grind, though the girls didn't have to go to school. They have this entire week off, so that is keeping Linda pretty busy, too. Both of them are growing so fast, we can almost see them get taller each day, and I think Jason is seeing it too. Linda and I took the girls to an "early" showing of Kung Fu Panda 3 (15:45, or 3:45pm). We were surprised to find that the theater didn't even open until 15:30 (3:30pm), and this is a holiday week. We still had plenty of time, and there really wasn't that many other people there, so we had good seats. The movie was entertaining, and I think that if you are thinking about taking your kids to see it, go ahead, it was worth it.

Jason is doing well, and continuing to heal up nicely. He has an appointment with Wound Care, tomorrow, and I'll be going with him. It will be nice to get back over there and visit with some of the people at Balboa. Otherwise, not a great deal going on, or to report on... I just pretty much wanted to get another update out. Thank you, for all the continued support and prayers. Take care and stay positive.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

February 13, 2016

Well, it has been a few days so I figured it was time for at least a quick update on what is going on with Jason, and the Ross clan in general.

First, Jason is doing well, and the wounds are closing up nicely. The new prosthetic bucket, or at Linda likes to call it - the wearable - is helping with the healing process. It also seems to allow him to be up in his chair longer and recover much faster. Before, if he had been up in his chair for four or more hours he would need to be down, in his bed, for most of the next day, and if he was up for even longer periods it could take more than a day before he would get back up again, and sometimes the wounds would show signs of wear. Now, he can be up for five hours and only need a couple of hours to recover, and the wounds continue to heal. This is all very good for Jason and for us, as a family. We can potentially see Jason getting out and doing more. We're already talking about going out and playing in the snow next year, up in the Sierras and maybe even Tahoe. Of course that would most likely be a very long drive, and that still needs to be determined if we can all endure that.

The house is becoming a home, where we're all very happy to be here and it feels more and more like our home every day. When we first arrived and the keys handed to Jason it felt surreal, almost like we were in this fantastic dream or something. Since none of us has woken up from that dream we have decided that it must be real and we all do belong here. The girls are becoming more and more comfortable with their school, as well as the new house, and we always have a great time when they are here. Monday is Presidents Day, and a holiday for the girls, and in fact the entire week is a no school week. We are either going to be taking the girls to the San Diego Zoo on Monday or Tuesday or one of the other days, we just haven't decided yet.

Jason and I took Gracie and Kojak to the dog groomers today, so they could get a good bath and get their nails trimmed. While they were getting cleaned up Jason and I then went over to Camp Pendleton to do a little shopping. He saw a new "toy" there and decided he wanted to get it. By the time we were done shopping and had lunch (we went to In-N-Out Burger) we were able to go back and pick up the dogs. Both of them look great and, as usual, they were both very happy to see Jason. I am so glad they have both become solidly attached to him. Kojak has been doing some learning, but now the training needs to step up a bit if he is going to be a true helper to Jason.

Tomorrow is Valentine's Day and right now we don't have a great deal planned. It is more of a time to simply be together and enjoy each other's company. We feel very grateful to have been allowed the opportunity to be with each other, and know that we have a strong family.Thank you, for all the continued support and prayers. Take care and stay positive.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

February 7, 2016

These past couple of days have been quite busy for the Ross household, here in Fallbrook. On Saturday we went down to Balboa to be a part of the Gary Sinise Invincible Spirit celebration. He comes to Balboa, each February, to provide a day full of fun for the military families of both those who are supporting the Wounded Warriors, and also the Wounded Warriors themselves. This is the third event we've been to, and each time it is a lot of fun. This years event was even more special as we met Col. James Folsom, of the Wounded Warrior Family Support Organization. They are the folks who worked with the Gary Sinise Foundation to make sure Jason got his van. He is an amazingly humble man, and really does go way out of his way to help.

We got there at about 11:00 and we stayed until almost 15:00 (3pm). The girls were with us and both of them were showing signs of being tired. Linda, Jason and I were also tired, so it was a good time for all of us to head on back home. Another interesting thing was the weather. It was almost 80 degrees and very blue skies. Winters are sure rough down here. Within a few minutes of being on the road the girls were asleep and stayed that way until we got home.

Then today Gary Sinise came over to the house to do a little filming of the family in the house, so we had another fun day. It was totally amazing how Stacy took Gary over to her play area and started to tell him all about My Little Pony toys and explained how each of them interacted with each other. She talked on and on about the different ones and Gary did his best to keep up. Then she and Jackie took him out to the play area, in the backyard and had Gary climbing on the structure. We finally were able to get him away and back into the house, to go over the rest of the environment and how it was helping Jason build his independence. Gary stayed a little longer than I think he had originally planned, but then again we always have great conversations with him. Also, Stacy gave Gary a plaque, that had a picture of Jason and the girls, and a copy of the speech she read at the home dedication. She read it again, for Gary and you could tell he was touched by it.

Gary stayed, for a couple hours and then had to get going. There was a film crew (two guys with cameras) recording everything, and it will eventually be made into a promotional film for the organization. We are just so happy that we can help, in this small way, to bring even more awareness to the needs of many of these guys who gave so much to the country. After everyone was gone we all just sat down and rested for a little while, then the Super Bowl came one. I was actually happy to see Denver win, though I have to admit I thought the Panthers were going to do much better. Thank you, for all the continued support and prayers. Take care and stay positive.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

February 3, 2016

The day after Groundhog Day and the weather hasn't changed any... okay, maybe a little, but not much.

Jason is doing well, and he and Linda went down to Balboa for a visit with the folks at the hospital. He had a couple of appointments and picked up a few supplies, then they came back home. Not too much excitement, and that's probably a good thing - Jason's wounds continue to improve and he is getting more and more used to the new prosthetic. The down side is that he didn't get to see Dr. Sheu, his primary at Balboa, and Dr. Sheu is a key reason Jason even has the new device. Perhaps next time he gets to the hospital, for a regular visit we'll find the good doctor.

Not too much is going on, otherwise. We have some fun planned for this coming weekend, with a visit to Balboa Naval Hospital (this time not as a patient) for the Gary Sinise Invincible Spirit Festival. There is also going to be a car show there, and they have asked Jason to bring at least one of his vehicles to put it on display. I guess people hear about his truck and van, but they don't get a chance to actually see one of them in action. We were at Costco a couple of days ago, and were approached by this gentleman in a wheelchair. He was there with his wife and they were getting ready to go in, just as we were. He said he saw Jason's truck and wanted to see it in action so Jason showed him how the lift system works. We talked for a little while then all four of us went in to Costco, and did our shopping. It was pretty cool, and even though the guy wasn't a Wounded Warrior, there was still a bond between him and Jason. Those kinds of encounters seem to energize Jason, so I'm happy to see them happen.

Not much more to report about, right now. I have a bunch of work that needs to get done, around the house, and Linda is working to keep the inside of the house in order, all the while we're doing our best to keep up with the girls and Jason. The girls are doing well in school, and both of them are healthy, and those are all good things. We have been blessed and we consider ourselves to be very fortunate to be where we are. We even get visits from friends, from time-to-time, from Livermore. Just yesterday we were visited by Hugh and Julie Keener, and we got to go to lunch with them. They were headed back up, to Livermore, and it was nice just sitting and talking with them.

Finally, tonight Linda and I had a chance to enjoy a Date-Night. We had hoped to do these on a more regular basis, but reality is that we only get to go out about once every other month. We went and saw a movie, Finest Hours, and really enjoyed it. The fact that it is based on a real event made it even better. When we went in to get the tickets we found out that it was in 3D, and that kind of surprised us, but that was okay. We relaxed and enjoyed just being there. Thank you, for all the continued support and prayers. Take care and stay positive.