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Happy Birthday, Rip!  Are you the youngest or oldest of my children???

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    Spring is near and above is the last time I will ever shovel snow.  


Tuesday, March 17th, 2015...  Happy St. Patrick's Day to all my Irish friends and to all those who wish they were Irish.  I remember the days when - no I will stop right there because this Rambling is about spring.  Yes, Spring of 2015 is this Friday.  The first day of spring can come on the 20th or the 21st(our son's birthday) - depending on the exact time of the Spring Equinox.  Believe it or not, I know what that means.  It is when the sun crosses the equator supposedly making day and night the same.  See, Mr. Olson, I still remember what you taught us in 7th grade science.  Spring also means getting ready for the kids to start their treks to Topsail Island.  The first one is usually around Easter, but with all the missed days of school caused by the cold weather, I would guess the odds now are 50-50.  However, I am betting on family coming.  I better start getting 1205 prepared.  The first thing I do is get the beach 'stuff' ready.  The second chore is getting the basement/garage in order.  Well, I am happy to say that that is done.  Why?  Well, the cold weather even affected us - with a broken pipe which Trey repaired.  However, I had to clean up that mess last Tuesday because the temperatures allowed me to work outside, and Helga gave me that 'or else' look when she left to lunch with the old ladies.  Oops, I mean young ladies.  A few other outside chores need to be done, but I need Trey for them - checking the roof, cutting back the branches over the driveway, taking out a big branch that has grown over the pool, and anything else Helga wants me to do.  I won't have Trey open the pool yet, and I won't call Michele to start mowing the lawn either, but those chores are on my list of things to do, too.  I have one more item on my to-do list which my wonderful children wrote in the BTISV, which stands for the Book To Improve Summer Vacation.  They want a fire escape from the second floor, which is definitely needed.  I am surprised that the town doesn't make builders/home owners install some method of escape from the top floors besides jumping.  Well, I am happy to say that after months of contemplating the situation, I have come up with a solution.  Actually, two devices will be used - a rope ladder for the younger ones and a sturdier device for the rest of us.  Send one dollar for a picture of the fire escape gismo which I designed for escaping 1205 on the soundside.  No, Rip, jumping from the deck into the pool is not an option.  (Let's make a play date for March 31st.)

Tuesday, March 3rd, 2015...  My story today starts in February of 2008.  Yes, it has been seven years since my right knee has been replaced.  No, the problem is not the knee; it is a little higher than that.  However, it started with that hospital stay when I found out my oxygen level was low.  Big deal.....I will take deeper breaths.  But, no the hospital sent me home with oxygen tanks which were soon replaced by an Oxygen Concentrator by my primary doctor, who told me that I only had to use it when I went to bed at night.  That I could handle.  However, he also recommended a sleep study which I completed under duress because it was pure torture.  They told me that I had sleep apnea.  Okay, give me a CPAP and I will be on my way.  Nope, that is not how it works.  They told me that I had to come back for another night of study to see which one suited my needs.  I said, "No way.  I have no problems sleeping."  I thought the oxygen would suffice.  My primary urged me to go back, but I 'thought' I was smarter.  To keep this from getting lengthy let me just give some high points before I get to last Thursday when I finally went back for my second night of torture.  December(2014) - EKG finds an irregularity in my heart.  January(2015) - heart monitor confirms it.  January(2015) - heart specialist finds PVC's (premature ventricular contractions).  More tests reveal nothing else - heart is in good shape.  Thank you, God!  However, the heart doctor wants me to go for a sleep study because there was a three second pause of the heart when it was being monitored.  All good news so far.  February 18th, I met with Antoinette Izzo, the sleep specialist, who was FANTASTIC!!!!  She explained everything about sleep apnea to me and opened my stubborn eyes to a dangerous situation.  I learned that oxygen is not the main way to treat sleep apnea, and sleep apnea can cause other serious situations which I never knew about.  I am not blaming my primary.  I am at fault for not following up on it or learning more.  February 26th - the final night of torture!  They woke me up three times to try different settings and three types of CPAP's.  DONE!  Now, I am waiting for Antoinette to send my prescription to Coastal Carolina Respicare so Tony, my cannula guy, can set me up with my CPAP.  (Let's meet again for a drink on St. Patrick's Day.)

Tuesday, February 17th, 2015...  The next time that you look in a mirror - stop for a long second or two.  What do you see?  Do you see yourself or do you see an older version of yourself?  I am lucky.  I truly see myself standing there.  They say the mirror doesn't lie so I am happy with what I see.  I may have mentioned this already, but a year or two after my father made the transition - I thought I saw him in the mirror standing behind me.  Naturally, he wasn't there, but I was glad that he was still keeping an eye on me.  What about pictures?  When I look at our old photos, I smile when I see all the folks in my past and present that I have loved and who have loved me.  However, when I look at recent pictures of myself, I would rather look like the image I see in the mirror.  What do you think - does a mirror or photo do a better job representing how you really look?  Moving on....  This cold weather is forcing me to read more so I checked out all my various spots for stories that don't make it to FOXNEWS.  This one is about a seventeen year old lad who, last week, had to have a penis reduction.  It is the first of its kind.  I hope he doesn't regret it later on in life because my friend, PC in Tennessee, who is a few years older than I am said that things on his body started shrinking.  He said that at the age of 75 his penis started shrinking so much that his wife renamed it Turtle.  I am digressing.  Let's get back to the seventeen year old who had to face this drastic surgery.  I am not going to get explicit here, but his penis grew so large that it prevented him from having sex or playing sports.  I wonder which one was more important to him.  The urologist at the University of South Florida, who treated the teenager, said that the request left him speechless.  Again, I am leaving out details about how it looked after the surgery, but I am happy to say the surgeon was quite pleased.  To me, that is not important - I hope the seventeen year old can now play sports.  ALL SPORTS!!!!!  (March 3rd is our next date.)

Tuesday, February 3rd, 2015...  "Get out of my way, You Old Fart!"  No, I didn't say it; however, I may have thought it last Thursday when I was coming home after picking up the groceries.  Actually, the old man, driving the 1996 Buick in front of me, may have saved me from being involved in an accident.  Yes, this happened on the 210 cutoff heading back to the island.  The speed limit is 45mph, and he was going about 25mph.  Well, maybe it was really 35mph, but it sure seemed slower.  There aren't many passing zones on the cutoff so I just sat back and listened to the songs emanating from my entertainment center.  GMC calls it something else, but right now, I can't think of the correct name.  Finally, we reached the traffic light at 210/50.  Yes, it turned red just as we approached.  The Old Fart was first.  Traffic going to the island at eleven in the morning this time of year is not heavy.  There was a break in traffic so four or five cars could have turned to the island.  However, Slo-Mo was looking every way.  At last - he pulled out.  I was next.  The light was still red for me and no cars were coming so I started to make the turn.  OMG, a car on the opposite side of 50 was pulling out towards the island.  The light was still red for me - turning right and red for him, but he continued to make his left turn and forced me to hit the brakes.  I didn't hit him, but I had a few choice words.  The "Runner of the Red Light" turned into the Food Lion.  I continued toward the island without waving goodbye to him.  Hey, guess who was in front of me the rest of my short ride home.  Yup, the Old Fart.  But he is not the rest of the story.  The damn light where that person was turning left is the real problem.  Okay, bottom line - The next day, Helga and I checked out the light on the north side of 50 - which Helga swore had no turning arrow.  It did!  Helga said it was new.  Great!  There is no sign on the south side of 50, which is the busier side, warning drivers that folks coming out may be running what seems to be a red light.  The state highway department down here does not use NO TURN ON RED.  Thank God, I hate those signs.  However, NC has to come up with something to warn folks that the opposite side may be running a 'red' light.  Give it a shot folks - What would the warning sign on the busy side say?  See you on February 17th.

Tuesday, January 20th, 2015...  How are our checkbook, MacDonald's, and the birds at Soundside Park connected?  Well, let's start with our checkbook.  I have taken care of our checkbook since we retired.  About 90% of our transactions are done either via the internet or electronically.  Six months ago, I asked Helga if she would like to learn how to work the system and take over that chore.  She was reluctant, but she accepted the challenge and did quite well except for one thing.  Let's just say three trips to New Jersey and Christmas took its toll on the balance we had in the checkbook.  She always complained that we kept too much in the checking account that pays next to nothing in interest.  She was correct.  I guess we were too busy (lazy) to stop at our favorite bank - Marine Federal Credit Union, which is on our way to Jacksonville - and make a deposit.  When we came back to Topsail after the holidays, I decided to give her a break and catch up on the bills and bring everything up to date.  Well, to my surprise, our excess of funds in our checking account was no longer there.  I said to Helga that we were going to have to replenish our checkbook with a withdrawal from savings.  Helga, being quite frugal, was against that move.  She wanted to take some austere measures to return our checkbook back to normal.  I agreed to it and said the first thing we should do is stop going out for lunch so often.  That statement brought tears to my wife's lovely eyes.  Oops, how do I recover from this?  The MacDonald's sign flashed through my mind.  I said we could go there instead and save money.  Helga started smiling.  She always told me that she did not care where we lunched as long as we went out.  Remember - Helga is semi-retired when it comes to cooking.  So we sat down and planned a meal from MacDonald's.  Here it is - two dollar menu cheeseburgers and one diet coke.  If we were really hungry, we could get three cheeseburgers and split the third one.  The total for the original order would come to $3.38.  Oh, yes, take-out only because if we went inside, we might be tempted to order fries.  Next step would be to take our healthy meal to Soundside Park and enjoy our repast with the wonderful sights on the Intracoastal.  Now, the birds enter the picture.  Did you know that they will fly to your car when they hear the power windows going down or up?  I know my youngest is not going to believe it, but it is true.  Oh, yeah, one bad aspect of this phenomenon - if you don't feed the birds when the windows go down, they will poop all over the car.  Yes, we found a new location to enjoy our well-balanced dinner at the beach.  I will return on February the 3rd.   


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