November 25, 2007

Missing in Action

*blink*

Has it really been almost two weeks since I last posted something?

Activity here at Rocket Jones will continue to be very light until further notice. Lots going on in real life.

I am *not* shutting this place down. In fact, I've got a redesign in mind, but it'll take a while to get to it.

When I first started this place - and then moved to Munuviana thanks to Pixy Misa - I had disposable time which has since evaporated. Liz was up and about, still working, and we had kids at home to help with the daily stuff. Since then, Liz's condition has deteriorated to where her mobility is severely restricted and all of the kids have flown the nest (which is a very good thing). So my daily to-do list has gotten much longer.

My health has been a distraction as well. There was the thyroid thing and this week I go in to have a skin cancer removed. I was really pissed off at the dermatologist, because I don't care how common or well-behaved it may be, you don't drop the "c" word on someone that casually. Having been outrageously healthy my entire life, this last year has messed with my mind some. I've always been the one supporting the person with a medical problem, and now the focus is on me and I'm not handling *that* nearly as well.

Other hobbies have shuffled in the priority stack, as they tend to do. I have a large backlog of movies to watch and review. My guitar has been calling out to me to be picked up much more often. My cooking and baking has gotten better and more ambitious. Next spring begins yet another relandscaping of the backyard, now that the front yard is complete. Rocket is rockets.

And, believe it or not, I'm excited about an upcoming video game release. We haven't owned a console since the original Nintendo (bought way late after the prices came down). The last games I spent any real time playing on the PC were Starcraft and Myst, which were both many, many years ago. I've recently discovered that Starcraft II is due out next year, and I can't wait! Ten years after the original and with a major updating in the technology behind the game, I'm replaying the original now to get back into what little groove I had going.

So that's what's been up. I'll still be around, and probably commenting more at your places. I'll still be posting the occasional recipe and movie reviews, and I still post reviews over at Wildside Cinema (their completely redesigned website will be opening on December 15th).

I'm not pining for the fjords, I'm much too busy for that.

Posted by: Ted at 09:00 AM | category: Seriously
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July 23, 2007

Fibromyalgia

Friends and long-time visitors know that my wife has fibromyalgia. She can no longer drive or work, and outside of our home she must use a wheelchair. Now there's a new fibromyalgia website with lots of information about the disease. It's worth a read, because with 6 million Americans suffering from fibromyalgia, chances are you know someone who's dealing with it.

Posted by: Ted at 05:37 AM | category: Seriously
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July 22, 2005

Feel that thump?

That was a huge weight falling from our shoulders. Liz heard from the cardiologist yesterday, and everything is absolutely normal. Everybody had already expected that, but it's great to hear it from the specialist. She's also been cleared to start back on her regular meds, and she's doing fine with her convalescence.

Thanks again to everyone who's sent email, left comments, and thunked good thoughts or sent prayers our way.

Posted by: Ted at 06:13 AM | category: Seriously
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July 02, 2005

Ok God, knock it off already

Rocket Jones has just undergone it's longest stretch of inactivity in its two year life. I've been... distracted... which is as good a word as any to describe my mind lately.

If you've been around for any length of time, you know that my wife has some rather severe medical problems (check the "seriously" and/or "boring stories" archives if you wanna know). While difficult, they're not life threatening, so we count our blessings and get on with life.

For the last couple of months, she's been seeing various specialists as they try to figure out the latest medical mystery. Each one has given us good news, in that a whole roster of very scary possibilities have been eliminated one by one. But each negative test result only ratcheted up the tension, because no one could point at something specific and say, "ah-Hah! Here's the problem!"

I've been a basket case, and I have the easy job, being the understanding and supportive husband. You can imagine the state of mind Liz has been living with.

On Tuesday I got a phone call from the Urgent Care clinic, letting me know that Liz was there with chest pains. By the time I'd gotten there, most of the lab work was complete and they knew for sure that it wasn't a heart attack. Diagnosis: stress and possible panic attack. No question as to what could be the underlying reason.

On Wednesday, we got the "ah-Hah!" moment we've been waiting for. It's not a brain tumor (thank God), but Liz will have to undergo some rather delicate surgery in the very near future. They'll be going up through the sinuses with their lasers and cameras, which is good because they won't have to drill holes in her skull. The bad part is that there is a remote possibility that she may lose her eyesight in the process. The surgery isn't all that uncommon, but there are definite risks because it's working near the finicky bits around the eyes.

Once it's done (and we're assuming it'll be successful), she'll have to stay on meds for the problem for life, and have annual checkups with the specialist.

We go on a long-overdue (and badly-needed) vacation week after next, and on the following Monday Liz goes in for her surgery.

Think good thoughts people, it couldn't hurt. Thanks.

Posted by: Ted at 05:39 PM | category: Seriously
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May 17, 2005

Boob Blogging

There's been quite a bit happening around the ol' household the last couple of weeks.

First up, my son is looking for his own place. He's been living at home for almost a year now after doing his hitch in the Navy, and I've decided that it's time for him to get out there and tackle the world on his own.

Yep, I threw him out.

He's looking at places to live nearer his work (he's got a pretty good job, but the commute from our house is a real bitch), and the plan is for him to be out by the end of the month. Call it tough love, but sometimes if you don't kick 'em out of the nest they never learn to fly.

Secondly, and even more exciting, is related to that odd little post about googling 36CC and 36HH. Our health insurance has approved a breast reduction for our oldest daughter, Robyn. She is, ah, over-endowed* shall we say, and has suffered from chronic back pain since the age of 14. Thanks to the foresight of our wonderful family doctor, it's been documented the entire time. Robyn is just shy of 21 years old now, and my health plan has agreed that physical therapy and other non-surgical methods have been ineffective, and that in the long run a reduction would be best for her health. I can blog this because she said it was ok, plus she's already called all her friends** and relatives to let them know. Yep, we're all excited and happy for her.

So my household shall soon be rid of three big boobs.

Oh look, I made a funny.

*At 36HH, she left Barbie in the dust long ago.

**So far my favorite reactions*** have come from some of her male friends, who suggest that she should wait awhile before going through with it, because "you might like them that big when you get older". That, my friends, is looking out for your fellow man.

***My second favorite reaction comes from some of her female friends, who freak out when they find out that dad is taking her to the hospital because mom can't get the day off of work.

Posted by: Ted at 12:08 PM | category: Seriously
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May 11, 2005

Sears Resolution

Sears is dead to me. After being bumped up the chain of command at least three times, the latest drone dealt with the pissed-off customer by sending a check. It wasn't for the full amount from our list of damages, but it was close.

It was a shut-them-the-hell-up check, because there was no phone call and no apology. I meant an apology for having to go through this mess in the first place. For all the people I wound up talking to about this situation, only two even bothered to say "I'm sorry", from the rest it was "prove that it's our fault". When I wasn't being patronized I was being treated like a liar and a thief.

Sears will be gone soon. Their corporate attitude has gone to hell and their customer service is a joke. You cannot stay in business with that mindset. I was a longtime customer, my workshop is full of Craftsman tools, my appliances were almost all purchased through Sears. If I needed paint, I'd wait for a sale at Sears.

Never again. Ever.

Posted by: Ted at 05:51 AM | category: Seriously
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November 11, 2004

Contemplating Suicide

Scary title, eh? I'm not personally thinking of committing suicide, but I have been thinking about what it is and what it means.

This line of thought was triggered (no pun intended) by someone I didn't even know, who recently took their own life for reasons unknown to me. That's most of the details I have, and I don't need to know more because it's none of my business, and I refuse to disrespect that individual simply to satisfy my morbid curiousity. They obviously had reasons of their own, but I'll never understand how someone can come up with that final equation.

If it's so bad that death seems like the only answer, then doesn't it make sense to believe that things can only get better?

Like probably everyone else, I've pondered suicide at one time or another. And like most people, it's been fleeting and never taken very seriously. More of a "what if?" kinda thought.

And I think that might be a key. I don't even pretend to know what's going through someone's head in that situation, but if you can think beyond the moment then you probably don't really want to do it. I've never been able to think of my own death as a final thing, there's always consequences and repurcussions to consider among those I'll leave behind. Dying is only final for the one who stops breathing. Everyone else still has to deal with it.

There's definitely an element of selfishness involved too. Simple rule: if you're gonna kill yourself, please be kind enough to leave something behind to explain why. It doesn't have to be a twenty page self-psychoanalysis, but that wouldn't be a bad thing. Don't leave friends and family staring at each other and asking "why?".

I think I'm a reasonable guy, and so there are many situations I can think of where suicide might be acceptable or even preferable. It doesn't even bother me to think that way, because not everyone thinks like me, or sees the world like I do. Still, I wish I could've been there to help in some way. Maybe just to listen or lend a shoulder to cry on. To try to point out some small sliver of silver lining they might not have thought of. To keep them from feeling so damned alone. To try to understand.

Posted by: Ted at 08:46 AM | category: Seriously
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July 16, 2004

Funeral

For my friend and co-worker will be this afternoon. To be buried with full military honors (retired Air Force) at Quantico National Cemetary.

Posted by: Ted at 06:54 AM | category: Seriously
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July 15, 2004

Wake

I missed work Tuesday and Wednesday with a stomach bug, and when I got to the office this morning, an email was waiting, informing me that a close co-worker at my last project had passed away Saturday evening.

This friend was about my age, and found out about three months ago that he had an agressive form of cancer. The last time I talked to his wife, just before I started this new job (what, three weeks?), she said he was fighting hard and doing fine.

I've been distracted all day, and just got home a little while ago from the viewing. I'm not very good at dealing with these kinds of situations.

Posted by: Ted at 07:53 PM | category: Seriously
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May 24, 2004

1300 miles

Back. Tired. All good. Work tomorrow. Sleep...

Posted by: Ted at 10:07 PM | category: Seriously
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May 23, 2004

Family matters

Life happens, be back in a day or two.

Posted by: Ted at 12:15 AM | category: Seriously
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April 19, 2004

A little advice needed (updated)

Yesterday I was involved in a ‘situation’ in our neighborhood, and I’m not quite sure how to deal with it.

A little background to start (I don’t have all the details, but this is the gist of it): late one night a year or two ago, a dog was barking for an extended period of time. It turned out to be a pit bull owned by a neighbor’s boyfriend and it had “gotten loose” in the front yard. Apparently it went after a pizza-delivery guy, who then called the cops, and when the officer arrived, the dog went after the cop. Bang bang, dead dog.

Fast forward to last week. I get home from work and some bozo is walking the neighborhood with two pit bull pups running loose. They’re not far from full-grown. I called out to the guy and walked up to talk to him. Trying to get the point across about keeping the dogs leashed without being a prick about it, I told him about the cop shooting the loose dog. His response was “yeah, that was my dog.” So much for learning the lesson. Sheesh.

I did see him walking the dogs another day, and they were on leashes.

My front yard is enclosed by a picket fence, and I let my dogs out there to play. My dogs are territorial, and will sometimes bark at kids running by on the sidewalk or riding their bikes. Most of the neighborhood kids are used to it, and they get along fine.

Yesterday our dogs were out front and suddenly we heard a huge commotion going on. I ran upstairs to see what was going on, and those two pit bulls were running free again and were at the fence barking at my dogs, who were nose to nose with them yapping right back. Our younger dog came inside immediately when called, but Sam the old-timer held his ground.

I went out and picked him up, and suddenly I was face to face with one of the pit bulls trying to come over the fence at me. Not even thinking about it, I stood there and stared down the pup while holding my dog under one arm, away from the fence. The pup retreated and I took Sam inside.

In the meantime someone had run to get the owners girlfriend, who was trying to get the pups back to her yard. I was pretty pissed off, so I said something I figured would get her attention: “Next time, I’m calling the cops.” Her reply was something along the lines of “I didn’t let them out on purpose.” I absolutely believe her, but still, those dogs went after mine in their own yard, and one of them almost came over the fence at me. Couple that with boyfriend letting them run loose, and it’s two strikes. We have too many young kids in the neighborhood to risk strike three. I don’t blame the dogs, but the owner(s) haven’t shown me that they’re responsible enough to keep dogs with that kind of damage potential.

Later I realized just how close it had been. If that dog had really wanted to get me, that picket fence would have been no barrier at all.

I’m now keeping a bat near the door, and the wife and Mookie have been instructed in no uncertain terms that if they see those pups running free, they’re to call the cops, and to make sure they mention “pit bulls”.

What would you do? Am I overreacting?

Update: Upon further reflection, I've refined the "standing orders" for Liz and Mookie. If that situation happens again, they're to look out the window before opening the door. If our dogs are alone in our yard, they can open the door (with the stick ready) and call our dogs in. If things aren't too crazy, they can step out onto the front porch but have to hold the door open just in case. No way do they let that door close behind them because they have to have a way to retreat if needed. I made it clear that I'd rather lose our dogs than have the ladies hurt. Also, the stick is more for distraction than for clubbing. Give the dog something to go after and buy a few seconds while getting back inside.

We know we'll probably never need to do this, but just knowing ahead of time what to do makes it easier to deal with.

I also pointed out that this is another situation where having a pistol and knowing how to use it would be helpful.

Posted by: Ted at 02:16 PM | category: Seriously
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April 01, 2004

Finally!!!

March 2004 will go down in the family history as one rotten month all around. Good riddance! Here's a partial rundown, because I need to vent a little, but I'm going to stay vague about some things.

1. Liz's trip to the emergency room when they discovered a mass in her head. She's fine, no problem, getting taken care of.

2. Two other family medical situations, both potentially severe in the long term. One was discovered very early and wil be taken care of in the immediate future, the other one is pretty much untreatable.

3. Me getting the flu or whatever the hell it was. It's been a long while since I've felt that lousy for that long a time. Getting better.

4. Still medical-related, a friend and co-worker was diagnosed with an agressive cancer. It started a month or two ago, and it doesn't look like he'll survive the year. He's right around my age.

5. We had a serious Mookie issue that I won't go into other than to say trust was betrayed. To her credit, she admitted it, feels terrible, and knows she screwed up (none of this "you don't understand, you're being unfair" nonsense). We're working through it together.

6. At work, I got notice that my position is being terminated. I work for a great company, and the day they called to tell me that, they pointed me at a possible new position, which I'll interview for in the next week or two. I expect I'll still have a job with my company, just in a different place. Because I didn't have enough stress going on in my life, fate added this little cherry on top.

So all in all, we're doing fine. There was nothing there that doesn't happen to many people every day, it just didn't have to happen all in one month, ya know? Thanks to my wife Liz, who helps me stay sane (and I, her), and Mookie (who's a good kid if a little odd sometimes), and the two who've already gone out into the big bad world, I know that there's more right with Ted's Universe than wrong.

Thanks also to my friends who let me vent (you know who you are), and those who sent emails and comments. You're appreciated and cherished.

I feel better now. It's a whole new month...

Posted by: Ted at 05:46 AM | category: Seriously
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February 17, 2004

Old dogs and new tricks

We have two dogs, a two year old Toy Poodle named Trix and a ten year old Terrier named Sam. And although we've almost always had at least one dog (and had as many as three), because of being in the military, we’ve never had a dog long enough to get old before*. We’re getting into new territory for us when it comes to Sam.

If human grandpa gets old and cranky, you deal with it. Same with an old dog, to a point, because even though he’s part of the family, it’s still a pet. I understand people who spend hundreds or even thousands of dollars on vet bills for an elderly or sick pet, but I wouldn’t do it myself. I think some people wait too long to put down a beloved pet, sometimes you just have to let go.

Sam is getting older. He’s still got a lot of play in him, and he gets around pretty good. He’s some years from the end, but he’s at the age where I’m beginning to think about it.

Lately, he’s taken to peeing on the floor in the house. He’ll go into the pantry and lift his leg against the garbage can, or downstairs in my workshop or the basement. Like a cranky old man, he doesn't take correction well, and it's getting worse. Why is he doing this? It might be the cold weather bothering his old bones, I don't know. He still goes out (we've got a doggie door to the backyard) during the day, so I'd almost think it was lazyness. Stubborn? I'd believe that before lazy.

Have you ever gone through this with a pet? How did you handle it?

*Rather than put our dogs into quarantine for some months overseas, we'd find him or her a good home before we moved. Hard to do, but better. We got Sam after I got out, and he was a couple years old when we got him.

Posted by: Ted at 11:56 AM | category: Seriously
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January 20, 2004

In case you were wondering

Today is Liz's first day back at work after her long vacation. She didn't want to go. Ahhhh, normalcy prevails.

Posted by: Ted at 01:48 PM | category: Seriously
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January 12, 2004

Busy busy busy

Work is going to be insanely busy for the next week or month or so.

Posted by: Ted at 06:20 AM | category: Seriously
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December 28, 2003

Ted's Diet Plan

Euphemistically, I'm big boned, hefty, cuddly, a teddy bear, healthy, a big guy, and circumferentially overachieving. I'm in shape, because round is a shape. I have the body of a god - Buddha. I'm currently on a diet. Actually, I'm on two diets, because one alone just wasn't giving me enough to eat. I'm well on my way to a career as a professional sumo wrestler. I'm thinking my sumo name would be Yomama - catchy, eh?

Realistically, I need to lose weight. I've needed to lose weight practically my entire life. Partly because I have the metabolism of a rock, and partly because I have a mostly desk-bound job and I love to eat. So it's not at all a mystery why I'm in the shape I'm in.

I'm not terribly unhealthy. My blood pressure is fine, so's my cholesterol. It doesn't kill me to climb a flight of stairs, and I don't think twice if I have to walk a mile or more to fetch a rocket.

Nobody knows more about diet and nutrition than a fat man in the military. You practically earn a degree on it as Uncle Sam counsels you and educates you. So I've seen a diet or two or twenty. Atkins is only the latest craze.

Low-fat. High-acid. Low-carb. Whatever. Here's my plan. It's called low-swallow. I'm going to quit eating so damn much. And I'm going to work up a sweat more often. Simple plan, now all I have to do is stick to it. And like anything else, now that I've announced it in my little corner of the universe, y'all can encourage me and make fun of me when I stumble. Go ahead, we're jolly you know.

Posted by: Ted at 09:27 AM | category: Seriously
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December 11, 2003

Seriously

Last one of these for awhile, I promise.

Today Liz went to see her doctor. He removed her staples (14 of 'em, 11" incision), disconnected the plumbing, and - best of all - gave us the results of all the biopsies. Everything was benign. No cancer. Happy doesn't begin to describe me right now.

Posted by: Ted at 07:22 PM | category: Seriously
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December 08, 2003

Near-enough normal

Oldest daughter Robyn made it home for Christmas with no problems. She's working day #1 at her old job right now, making as much money as possible to pad her savings account before she heads back to school. She'll be working six days a week the entire time she's home, including (I think) both Christmas and New Years for holiday pay.

Liz came home from the hospital yesterday. Her doctor, her nurses, and Liz agreed that it would be a better thing than spending another day there. She'd gotten a new roomie, and from my observations, I think the lady was terminal. She was loud and (understandably) ornery, constantly demanding pain meds - which she got - and more often than not there was a nurse there to deal with her. Sometimes there were two or three. Lots of noisy machines were hooked up to her. She was being fed through an IV, but she bitched so much that they finally gave in and brought her a tray too. I overheard a doctor say basically that it didn't matter anyway.

I felt bad for her, but that's not a good environment for others to try to get well in, so they sent Liz home.

She's doing great. Slept soundly last night, and the dogs have gotten the idea that they are not allowed up in her lap. I'm at her beck and call, which would be funnier if I were a girl... 'beck and call girl'... shut up, I'm tired too, and I slept on the floor again. That's one of those character-building things my parents used to lie to me about.

Once again, thanks to all who sent well wishes and prayers. We appreciate them more than we can say. Now, I've got some half-completed interview questions to take care of.

Posted by: Ted at 12:48 PM | category: Seriously
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December 06, 2003

Mookie

Wow, I had no idea that Mookie got an email yesterday. For those who were wondering, mom and I discussed this with her a couple of weeks ago, and we had no problem with it. The only restrictions we put on it (besides the usual 'parent' ones), was that she had to arrange for her own rides back and forth because I would be busy, and that it depended on the weather.

With me spending all day at the hospital, there wasn't much difference between Mookie staying home or going to her friend's house. She doesn't like hospitals (who does?), and there just wasn't any point to her hanging around the house. I tried to get her to channel her anxiety into cleaning, but she wasn't fooled by that little ploy (and I noticed that she did do some yesterday before she left, probably a little stress-reduction on her part).

To whoever sent the email - or to those that thought the same thing - this wasn't a case of Mookie being selfish and unfeeling. I understand appearances, but this time you're wrong.

Posted by: Ted at 08:44 AM | category: Seriously
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