Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Dangerous Discovery

Definitely did discover dangerous delectables during a drop into Walmart. Depressed by dint of the demise of Ding Dongs I did delve the shelves of dubious duplications. I did detain a decoction developed by diametrically dismantled engineering. My dubiosity did develop into the done deed. Dollars donated. Their designation a deceptively devilish dessert.
Then I ate it.
The distinction differed to my delight. The denoted generic 'Ding Dongs' did define themselves deluxe at a discount. My disdain dissolved; as did the devilish delight.
This is dangerous.


Thursday, April 25, 2013

Small Victories-

Eagle River, Alaska
I looked on Yahoo news, but I didn't find it. I did find out that two celebrities were wearing the same dress at the same event and that another sports figure did something stupid. But there was no mention of the woman that called me on the phone today. She wanted to tell me that she had received a new heart and that she was a changed person. This is huge. She was going to die very soon and now she will not. I did not wonder why this was not big news in all of the major venues. She is not famous. She is just like the rest of us. And what a blessing that is.
I met her and her husband in February. She was an inpatient and was placed on the transplant list that very day. I was there for my semi-annual heart biopsy. She had heard of me and wanted to ask me some questions. She has primary AL amyloidosis and was in much worse condition that I had been prior to my new heart. But, she was initially afraid and did not want a heart transplant. Finally, with her doctors' urging and her husband's support, she acquiesced and agreed to go on the list. But she was still nervous. When Barbie and I entered her room she was surprised to see how healthy I looked. We answered her questions and named her fears such that they no longer lurked in the darkness of uncertainty. When we parted she was visibly relieved and increased in hope.
I knew from what she told me of her symptoms that without a heart transplant she would not be long for this world. I silently prayed that the heart would come soon. It did. Within a month I got word from her husband that she had an uneventful surgery and recovery. She had an early heart rejection, but this was reversed with ridiculously high doses of I.V. steroids (Solumedrol: nasty stuff) and has done well since.
She called me today to ask when she should be rechecked as to the status of her amyloidosis. We discussed this and her new side-effects. She spoke of a wicked 'Prograf' tremor (Prograf is the major anti-rejection medicine that we take everyday, forever.) This causes a bad 'intention' tremor. This type of tremor gets worse as the effort at fine motor movement increases. So when the spoon begins at the bowl, it is not that bad. However, when it finally reaches the lips it is like eating soup on a roller coaster during an earthquake with a magnitude of 7.2 on the Richter scale. It is messy. I reassured her that this would greatly improve in 9 - 12 months. I gave her suggestions on managing her light-headedness after sitting for long periods. Barbie and I reminisced on how we never knew what the cause of all of my early side-effects were and how it would have been nice to have someone to call. The doctors tried, but patients understand these thing better; we live through them every day.
It was amazing to hear her describe her new life. She is no longer short of breath; no more oxygen tanks. The defibrillator vest is gone. No more pain when eating. And the nasty swelling in the legs is gone. She now walks a mile a day. What a miracle.
This should be momentous news; such an amazing event. But it happens to regular folk every day all over the world.
Fame is a funny thing. Some people actually seek it, but they are always disappointed.They often proffer some salacious tidbit that immediately vaporizes into cyberspace as they remain unsatisfied. Fame is an empty promise. I define fame as when 51% of the people who have ever heard of you have never met you. I would rather be famous among 50; within a small group whose lives you have touched while becoming better for having met them, either physically or through our ever expanding virtual world.
In this group we know each other. We share our stories and listen and understand. We give hope to each other and enlighten the path for those that follow. In this group we are each enriched as we share our small victories


Wednesday, April 17, 2013

In My Father's House

We had the opportunity to purchase the house in which my father grew up. It is located two blocks from downtown Provo, Utah. Barbie and I fell in love with the house when we first saw it. It is a Craftsman Bungalow style built in 1927. But we also felt its history. My dad moved here when he was nine and lived there until he married my mom and moved to California. There is so much of the history of my ancestors that happened in this house. My first recorded memory (one attached to a fixed date) happened when we travelled to Utah for the funeral of my Grandmother in April of 1962. I was in the kitchen as I watched boiled oatmeal escape the saucepan and pour over the rim onto the stove. This frightened me.

Barbie and I traveled to Provo last week to see the basement that we had remodeled so that Caitlin and Ben could live downstairs while Samuel and Michelle reside in the main house. This was a long long-distant process and had its share of both minor bumps and major issues. We had excellent help through our friend and interior designer, Wendy Ormsby, and our contractor, Jeremy Brown of AllElectric Construction. We did our best to maintain a virtual presence through smart phones as we texted, sent photos and face-timed to oversee and hopefully not overlook the many details involved The result created one of the nicest basement apartments that I have seen in Provo. (A university town with its share of basements dungeons. I lived in one in 1980.)

I decided to include some before and after photos.

(Click to enlarge)


Before, Note the painted ducts

Two areas of the old basement not seen here in photos are the cinderblock coal room which was behind the water heater and originally stored coal for the first furnace in the house. This was removed and made room for the bathroom above. The old coal shoot was converted into the bathroom window. Additionally, there was a root cellar that ran the width of the back of the house behind the basement kitchen. This was excavated and finished to become the pantry off the kitchen, the laundry room and a back exit to the internal staircase to the main house. This staircase was required by Provo City in order to get a building permit and caused a large delay and a large cash infusion.

 Front Room



View from door





After, with view into pantry

We decided to create the basement that we would like to live in if we were young married BYU students.
I'm ready to go back to school.