For some unknown reason, I forget I have this blog. I should try to keep it going by posting more often. Now that spring is slowly giving way to summer, I’m more likely to be out of the house than in it. Being retired is great as I can do what I want when I want (with the approval of the wife, of course).
On the 23rd of May I’ll be heading west to Colorado to prepare our other house for summer. Stuffing the air conditioner into the living room window, cleaning downspouts and gutters, and jobs like that isn’t fun, so I only do this twice a year.
The sales on my two novels are tapering off. Since I self-published, I have to do my own advertising and promotions. The local library lets me set up a table once every six months and hawk my books. This is a good thing, but won’t make you rich. Actually, the whole writing thing won’t increase a bank account by much. You can find my novels on Amazon under: B Douglas Slack.
I should have some nice spring-ey pictures of the mountains and/or snow when I get back.
I admit it, I’ve been very slothful here on this site. I signed up at two writing sites and just haven’t found the time to get back here and blog. On Booksie, (booksie.com) I have quite a few novels, short stories, and poems posted and on The Next Big Writer (thenextbigwriter.com) I have just srted posting there.
So, I am very sorry that I’ve neglected this site and hope to change that in the coming year.
I spend an awful lot of my time over on Booksie now. I have quite a few novels (one topping over 100 chapters), and a bunch of short stories, poems, and the like. I enjoy doing them and have a few fans following me. Over there, I write under the name “Tom Oldman” so if you go to Booksie.com and do a search for that name, you’ll find me.
Lately, I’ve found WordPress to be a bit ‘clunky’ as an interface and have to go looking for functions and buttons that used to be quite visible. I really hate it when a web host makes changes just for the sake of changing something to make it look like they’re ‘moving along’. My adave has always been: If it works, don’t screw with it”.
Facebook, on the other hand, is really, really bad at creating chaos out of calm. For absolutely no reason I can see, colors are changed, position of buttons either changed or dropped/added willy-nilly, and whole iFrames are either modified or moved to make way for an increasing amount of ads. I’ve been kept busy writing scripts for my GreaseMonkey add-on in Pale Moon that helps me kill things that irritate me (especially on Facebook). Of course, nobody in their “customer service” even deigns to answer a simple query or an enraged complaint. No matter how nasty you are to them, they simply ignore you.
Anyway, I will now climb down off my soapbox and get some sleep.
Time has completely gotten away from me since my last post. My wife and I have had our 50th wedding anniversary of August 1st, which we celebrated in January with a 14-day cruise to the Caribbean. It was a wonderful trip and we enjoyed it a lot. Unfortunately, right after I got back, I came down with a horrible case of gout in my left leg, ankle, and big toe. It immobilized me for almost two weeks (and put me in the hospital for three days).
Then, a few months later, I had my prostate flare up and block me up. Now I had a catheter to mess with (documented as several previous posts).
As I’ve said before, I do most of my writing over on Booksie.com as ‘Tom Oldman”. Several short stories and three rather long novels have been published. I’m currently working on three more novels, but have had to curtail my time on them due to guests in house for the holidays.
Now it is into January and things have calmed down somewhat. I hope to get back to at least an occasional post here.
The catheter for males was invented in 1760 by the Marquise (or Marchioness) de Sade for her husband, the Marquis, for his twentieth birthday as a gift. It is said that he enjoyed it so much that it soon became the law of the land that whenever a guy had problems urinating, a catheter was inserted. Therefore, what started out as a sexual aid soon became something not so nice.
I can vouch for that wholeheartedly. When I got back home from a wonderful 14-day cruise in the Caribbean all of a sudden my prostate decided to become enraged at the treatment I’d been giving it for the last 70 years and swell up to the size of what felt like a basketball.
This, naturally, impeded the flow of fluids from my bladder outwards. I can definitely tell you that not being able to pee for what felt like two days (but was only two hours) is NOT FUN!
The first doctor in the emergency room (a female Major) was either unsure of how to go about inserting the catheter, or was a devotee of the Marquis in some way because no lubrication or other deadening agent was used in the attempt.
I did a LOT of high-pitched singing while simultaneously trying to push down further into the bed I was lying on. Finally, she gave up and called another doctor – this time a male. His first question was: “how much lidocaine did you use?”
Her answer: “Lidocaine?”
After the generous application of a deadening agent, the catheter was finally inserted. For those of you who haven’t had this pleasure, just imagine a #2 pencil about a foot long being inserted up your urethra. And, get this; once it is inserted all the way into your bladder, a balloon-like section is inflated using distilled water to KEEP it there.
Suffice it to say that once it was in place, the pressure was off so to speak and they gathered nearly 900 milliliters that first time. Now, I am walking around with a bag strapped to my leg. The best thing: I can pee whenever I want to!
I am reminded of the clip from Dirty Rotten Scoundrels when Steve Martin’s character asks “Can I go to the bathroom?” When the person responds “certainly”, Steve gets a very satisfied look on his face and then says “thank you”.
For some reason, comments have been disabled for my blog. Does anyone know why this has happened?
I realize I haven’t been making many posts here, but that shouldn’t have any bearing on what gets commented on.
Let’s see what happens to this post…
EDIT: I found the culprit!! Buried down in my settings is a check box that says “Turn off comments after [fill in the blank] days. It was set to “14”. I changed it to “90”. I’d never noticed this check box before.
What can one say about a friend you’ve never seen face-to-face? Paul and I met through a group of mutual friends who enjoyed flying. Not real metal airplanes, but in virtual flight using multi-player simulators. For several years we would gather at our computers, connect our communications gear, and take off. It didn’t matter where (or what) we were flying at any given moment, just the fact that we were together and having fun.
Our conversations ranged from daily happenings, through football predictions (both “ours” and “theirs”), living conditions in our respective countries, and the finer points of alcoholic drinks. Nothing much was omitted. From time to time, others joined us and others left. Still, there remained a core of intrepid flyers to keep tooling along.
But, this blog post is not just about flying. Instead, it more about the caring individuals who were in our group. Paul was always very upbeat in his outlook; always available to take time to talk instead of fly. I became aware of how much a family man he was when I ‘met’ his wonderful wife briefly.
In the very short time between his diagnosis and passing I also talked with his son, Danny. Paul was very proud of him and his accomplishments; never failing to trumpet them every time we chatted. I do hope to keep in touch through him.
We haven’t flown in a bit now, but perhaps this picture of the Missing Man formation might help to express my sadness at Paul’s passing.
Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of Earth
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
Sunward I’ve climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
of sun-split clouds, — and done a hundred things
You have not dreamed of — wheeled and soared and swung
High in the sunlit silence. Hov’ring there,
I’ve chased the shouting wind along, and flung
My eager craft through footless halls of air….
Up, up the long, delirious, burning blue
I’ve topped the wind-swept heights with easy grace.
Where never lark, or even eagle flew —
And, while with silent, lifting mind I’ve trod
The high untrespassed sanctity of space,
– Put out my hand, and touched the face of God.
Yesterday, while working in my back yard, my hearing aid fell out of my ear and dropped to the ground. I (among others) spent around three hours searching for it with no luck. Today, I called the VA for a replacement.
Here’s how our tax dollars are spent:
The VA will not give me a new set of hearing aids without a complete physical. That, in itself, isn’t too bad because at my age you can’t get too many physicals BUT instead of picking up the phone and requesting the pertinent records be faxed over from the hospital at Wright-Patterson (I had a physical four moths ago), the VA requires that THEY do all the work – which effectively duplicates every bit of work already done.
The VA is always yammering about “how crowded they are” and “how they can’t possibly deal with all the veterans who apply” so why in hell do they ‘require’ someone who already has a complete medical history to come all the way across town and get yet another physical workup at their hospital? I have no idea how much time, effort, and money is spent doing this, but it certainly could be eliminated with a simple phone call and a facsimile machine.
So, here’s how things stand:
1) I have to wait until the 10th of September for the physical (in the AM) and a new hearing test (in the PM — which I could use since my last one was three years ago for renewal of my disability)
2) In the interval, I will have to go back to reading lips to understand completely what everyone is saying since I only have one hearing aid.
3) Last time (when I broke one of hearing aids by stepping on it when IT fell out of my ear) it took a grand total of two weeks to replace it. Now, apparently, the VA has had “updated procedures” they have to follow that were dictated by the head bureaucrat-in-charge-of-government-spending-of-our-tax-dollars.
Talk about government boondoggles, this one is the boondoggliest.