OMG – Evil Evel Knievel is Dead

From AP:

Evel Knievel, the red-white-and-blue-spangled motorcycle daredevil whose jumps over crazy obstacles including Greyhound buses, live sharks and Idaho’s Snake River Canyon made him an international icon in the 1970s, died Friday. He was 69.

For men my age, Evil was a HUGE icon in our consciousness during childhood.  I still remember building ramps out of bricks and plywood, and jumping whatever was handy (including, one time, my brother).  I idolized Knievel that much.  I was SO jealous of my best friend because he had the Knievel wind-up motorcylce/action figure.  That had to be the coolest toy since the 6 Million Dollar Man action figure, with bionic eye and cool punching motion.

Evil Knievel is dead.  I am suddenly feeling very old.  Rest in peace, Evil.

Throw Away The Bar

I’ve seen the inevitable posts from people stressing over the holidays, and it got me to thinking.  The secret to life, especially as we age, is to channel our inner Belushi.  Get out the “College”sweatshirts and become slackers.  Well, not exactly, but close.

Here’s the way I see it: most of our frustrations in life come from measurements against some perceived standard, and our lives falling short.  This is true of marriage.  This is especially true of the Christmas season.  Something in our brains insists that there is such a thing as an ideal Christmas, and even though we can’t remember the particulars, we’d swear we had one in our childhood. 

It just isn’t true. Even if it SEEMED perfect, your parents were highly stressed out to make it appear that way to you.  The good old days were NOT that good.  This is a trick our brains play on us.

I can’t tell you how many relationships fail because one or both partners look at the relationship (and the other person), and compare them to some ideal; the person and the relationship NEVER measure up.

Want to at least get a chance of some contentment in your life?  Do more than just lower the bar; throw the darn thing away.  Enter every season of your life, every milestone, every day, every moment, without expectation.  When life asks you want you want, smile and say, “Surprise me!”

Young people do not want to hear this.  They are all about “I’m going to do this, then I’m going to have this, and by this age, I’ll be…”  And there’s nothing wrong with having goals.  What I’m suggesting is that you plan and dream in a more general way, and leave the specifics alone.

If you do, life will never fail to amaze you.  It’ll kick your butt sometimes, too (as I am finding out right now).  But one thing it will NOT do, is disappoint you.

An example: I always figured I’d have children in the normal fashion; they’d look like me and Lintilla, my grandparents and the rest of my family.  Well, that didn’t happen. But, you won’t see me mourning a dream-not-realised.  I did for a while, but I should have known better.

I got something far more interesting, fun, and more importantly: right for me.  I just didn’t know it at the time.

Back on topic, one of the reasons that I LOVE Robert Earl Keen’s Merry Christmas From The Family is because it takes the Ideal Christmas and throws it to the curb.  One can have a trashy redneck Christmas, and still have that warm, fuzzy feeling of hearth and home.  It’s all in the attitude.

This Christmas is going to be quite different for us.  It has to be, I’m doing the decorating 😉  We may not have turkey or ham – heck, I have half a mind to have German food (why do I always associate Germany with Christmas?) .  But then again, maybe we will.  The point is, it doesn’t matter. 

We’ll celebrate Christ’s birth, and otherwise, let the chips fall where they may.

I’m not going to stress out over finding the perfect gift.  It doesn’t exist.

All I’m saying is that if you can drop the idea of a perfect Christmas, life might just surprise you and give you one.

Thoughts From The Eye of the Storm

Cancer is quite a buzzkill.  Lintilla and I been involved in some wonderful, cheery conversations with some of you, and then somebody mentions Lintilla’s health, then everybody gets all sad and worried.  Which, we appreciate, don’t get me wrong.  But there have been many conversations recently that I’ve wanted to end like Forrest Gump: “Sorry I ruined your Black Panther party…” .

Seriously, y’all are too good to us.  I want to thank everyone for all the offers of help, and all the prayers and good thoughts.  Lintilla, the kids, and I all appreciate them greatly.

They say that in hurricanes, it is eerily calm inside the eye.  That is where we are right now.  This week has been insane.  We’ve had to do some planning for how the household will carry on during Lintilla’s incapacitation; however, I’m a little more at ease about that now because of our wonderful church and X-Alt families.  Nevertheless, we’ve still had to arrange things.  Of all the household stuff that has to be done, the one thing I’d rather not do is feed the gecko.  But, I will do it for Lintilla.  That’s love, I tell ya! 🙂

At work is where it’s craziest.  We have a pretty big project due, and I’ve been absolutely scrambling to make sure that everything is done, and done correctly, before my leave starts Monday.  In football terms, I’m throwing a fade pass – I’m setting everything up to happen on the 4th, and I have to trust that the receiver will be where I threw the ball, when I expect him to be there.  I’ve absolutely worked my butt off; there’s nothing else I can do.  I resurrected an old, bad habit of mine:  I quit delegating, and just did everything myself this week.  I know it’s wrong, but it was the only way I could be absolutely sure the project would get completed exactly the way I wanted.  It’s what I do when I get stressed: I try to do it all myself.  But, everything’s ready to go now.

My supervisor has gone above and beyond.  HR lollygagged in getting the FMLA forms to us, and she had to put her foot down in getting them to send them.  I’m afraid I made her angry yesterday, pestering her every five minutes.  She finally had to tell me to calm down.  The forms came, and they are now at the doctor’s office, to be filled out today.  I told my supervisor, she should get me back by pestering ME every 5 minutes about where the forms are!

So, anyway, I’ve been scrambling, and now it’s all pretty much done.  I don’t quite know what to do with myself; everything that can be done, has been.  I know that starting Monday, we’ll be back in upheaval time, but right now, all has been arranged, and all we can do is wait.  For a short time, we’re just going to carry on with our lives.  Saturday morning, I’m going to clear the leaves out of the driveway, so that y’all who come to visit us can get up the hill (when the leaves get wet, it’s like snow).  Saturday night, we’ll be at the Coffeehouse at New Beginnings (you will be there, won’t you?).  Y’all – we rehearsed last night – Susie and Ginger have a couple of solos that will make your toes curl.  And the “Sounds of Life” choir will be singing with us during that song.  OMG – you have to be there just to hear it!  If you want to give Lintilla a hug (which she always appreciates), this would be your chance.

Sunday, Lintilla and Trillian are having a girl’s day.  Zaphod and I will go to the Titans game.  At first, I thought I shouldn’t go, but Lintilla talked me into it.

And then Monday, well, we’ll deal with that when it gets here.

What We Learned From The Doctor Today

We didn’t learn near as much as I’d like.  This is my layman’s understanding.  Lintilla will probably come along later and give the correct terminology. 

Adenosarcoma can grow fast or slow, can metastasize or not. It prefers to grow in female “plumbing” as I call it (as well as the lungs), that’s why they are taking everything out. Because they don’t know what they are dealing with exactly, they are going to do things a little differently on Monday.  They will make a vertical incision along with the horizontal ones, because they are going to have a good,long look around.  A pathologist will take a look at the tumor under the microscope while Lintilla is still open.  They will then know exactly what they are dealing with.  They’ll also decide at that time whether or not to take out the abdominal lymph nodes. 

They won’t be able to make decisions on the need for radiation/chemotherapy until the pathologist looks at things.

She’ll be in the hospital for four days.  They were going to do it at Baptist, but for insurance and other personal reasons, Lintilla insisted on Centennial.  Here’s something weird: Lintilla won the argument about whether or not I should be there with her the days after the surgery in the hospital.  She insisted I go to work.  We argued about it when the doctor stepped out for a bit, but she always wins arguments about these things 🙂 .  So, I’ll be there the day of the surgery, then I’ll go to work the next few days.

I’ll be home with her the next week.  She’ll be home for 6 weeks.  She can’t lift anything over 5 lbs during that time.  I’ll do what I can, but, by golly, this is going to be a good time for the kids to start helping out around the house.

We appreciate the thoughts and prayers, and offers of help.  I guarantee you, we’ll be taking you up on a few of them.  I still haven’t figured out kid/school logistics for next week, or the week of December 17th.  God will show a way, no doubt.

We’re still going to be at the coffeehouse at New Beginnings this Saturday.  Lintilla would love to see all of ya’ll there – it’s the last she’ll be out and about for a while.

Anyway, that’s what we know right now.  If Lintilla is up to it, I’ll ask her to post a more “medically correct” update.

If You See My Mind

…just drop it in any mailbox.  We’re back from the metropolis of Milton,FL.  It was a hectic, but nice Thanksgiving.  While visiting with the folks, it occurred to me:  my mom is melodramatic, my dad, morose.  I got a good dose of both. No wonder I’m insufferable sometimes.

I also realised, for some unknown reason, that I will most likely never see Halley’s comet.  It came in 1986, but I was too involved with whatever trivial nonsense was going on my my life at the time, and didn’t bother to look to the sky.  I’ll be 99 when it comes again, if I make it that far.  Somehow, it seems to be a good metaphor for life.

Tomorrow is the day we get some real answers.  Lintilla and I meet with the oncologist, and we’ll not only find out more about the nature of the cancer she has, but also answers to some of those logistical questions that we need answers to ASAP: how long will she be in the hospital?  How long do I need to stay home with her?  When can she drive again?

My job needs to know what kind of leave I’m going to need to take -and I can’t answer till I have answers myself.  Also, we’re quite stressed out over the logistics of getting the kids to/from school. We don’t think about how precariously balanced our lives are till one of the pieces gets disrupted.  I work 6-3, Lintilla 7:30-whatever.  We do this so Lintilla can drop the kids off at 7, and I can pick them up at 3:15.  Once we find out more from the doctor, we can make a plan (I hope).

We have no idea how we’re going to handle things like Christmas shopping this year.  Thank God we live in the Amazon age.

I’m expecting some bad news today about an old,dear friend of mine. 

Something funny: I bounced my tithe check.  OK, not “bounced”, we have overdraft protection, but it’s still embarrassing.  We’re not broke (yet), I just messed up the timing of paying a few things.

Anyway, in better news, I get my performance review today…

Vacancy

I’ve never seen anything like this.  We are in the Country Inn & Suites in Bessemer, AL (a suburb of Birmingham).  We are, almost quite literally, the only people here.  It’s not like it’s a bad hotel or anything; it’s quite nice.

It just feels weird – we have the breakfast all to ourselves.

BTW, next time we take the van instead of the xB.  I’m having flashbacks of the year in my childhood where we rode to Florida in my dad’s Camaro.  Three kids and luggage.  This isn’t quite that bad, but it’s close.

See y’all in FL.

Posted in Travel. 1 Comment »

Misc Stuff

Lintilla and I would like to thank all of you from the bottom of our heart for your kindness and well wishes.  They lift us more than you’ll ever know.  You are a blessing beyond measure.

Today is the craziest day known to man.  I have to “electronically” fill out an FMLA form, I’ve got to do it today, and the online system we use to do that with is down.  Pah.  We’ll be in Birmingham tonight and Florida tomorrow.  I haven’t packed yet.  I have to drop off the dogs at the sitter’s after I pick up the kids from school. I’ve got insurance companies to call, and who knows what else I’ve forgotten.

(To would-be robbers: go ahead and break into my house while we’re gone if you must.  You think I give a crap?) 

About half of our men’s rooms at work have the automated faucets; the other half are manual.  I wonder if I’m the only one that stands there looking like a fool with his hands under a manual one, waiting for the water to come out.

What the heck is ABC thinking, having a new Ugly Betty on Thanksgiving?  (Before it was ‘work’, I would have been quite pleased with this).

Y’all, mark this date: December 1st.  New Beginnings Church is having another coffeehouse, but this one is different.  It will be Christmas based, for one thing.  There will be no cover charge.  X-Alt will be singing many familiar Christmas songs.  Our friend, the incomparable Jim Weber will be there again.  Channel 4’s Jennifer Herron will be hosting again.  And, we’ll have a a huge treat:

When X-Alt played at Word of Life Christian Center a bit ago, we were blown away by a choir called “Sounds of Life”.  There was also a 3-man group called Men-U (Men United) that had the tightest harmonies I have ever heard.  Well, folks, these two groups are going to be at our coffeehouse!  It’s going to be so great have such a wide cultural and musical diversity on Dec 1.

I’m telling you, you don’t want to miss this.  Many amongst us have had rough times this year; some of us are going through them right now.  What we need right now is overwhelming Joy.  I can tell you right now – I’m a little ticked off.  My family is under attack, in health, spiritually, financially.  Many others are too.  But, whatever our demons…

We can let go and be overcome with Joy.  No preaching, no pressure – just a night of therapeutic music and Joy.  You know you need it – Lord knows, I do.  There are some of you who have never come to an X-Alt event. We don’t care if you are Christian, we just want to play music for our friends.  No charge.  I might even let you crash at my house, if you feel Bellevue is too much of a drive.  I’d just love to have you there. Some of you hard cases, whom I am disappointed to never see at these events,  can expect an email from me soon.

Let’s tell all that negativity in our lives to kiss our collective butts and kick off the Christmas season right!  Mark it down – December 1st.

Finally, I’m going to Costco during my lunch hour.  Anybody need me to pick up anything?