Saturday, November 5, 2011

A New Home (And Paperwork)

Okay this is twice this post has disappeared so I am giving up.  Pictures, a real post and more tomorrow

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Pixies and Reality Setting In

First, Ned and I went to see the Pixies tonight, which will explain why I am writing at 11:45 or later. Well, Dad stood in the back and son would come see him from time to time. The show was excellent regardless and very loud and very well produced. One of these days I will find out if they saved one of my favorites for last or not. It was fun and my already bad hearing will probably remain bad and may have gotten a little worse.
During free time and moments I can steal and think of it at work, I am preparing myself for the boat. So far I have accomplished very little, but may have a place or two to store it. Tomorrow will be a couple of more calls. The reality hit me Monday when I went to get a price on a trailer hitch for my car. They are roughly as much as I paid for the boat. Storage is also going to cost me more that the boat's price, and we haven't started working or seriously looking for a motor.
One positive note is that because it is only 14 feet long, a season's pass on the Canal will only cost $25.00. That is when and if it goes in the water. I have to thank a few people for the outpouring of support for my project. Rick, Steve and John, thank you. And thank you Maria.
For now there is a new copy of Wooden Boat magazine on the magazine pile, a lot of ideas, more questions, a certain dread thinking about what it may need and a desire to just get to work.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

A Birthday and A Present

I turned 52 yesterday. Not a grand accomplishment, but not bad either. With no strokes for two and half years, and being back to work full time again, I decided I didn't have enough excitement in my life. So I bought a pair of skis and then a pair of boots. This was good, but kind of limited in the excitement area. You can only ski a limited part of the year and sometimes I believe I can ski better than I can walk, so its not much of a challenge, even if I haven't skied since the stroke.
The stroke did some funny things. I am very uncomfortable fly fishing now, or found it very unnerving to be wading in moving water. I will to try it again, but not right now. Likewise, when I tried to tie flies, it was terribly frustrating. But, I have enjoyed gardening and wood working. A new cherry bookcase appeared in our living room, we had a wonderful flower garden for cutting this summer and my Dad's roses have been successfully transplanted to our side yard.
So a while ago, looking around Craigslist, a boat caught my eye. It was born the same year as I was, 14 feet long, made of mahogany and sold by Sears. I initially resisted and forgot about it. But after another search of Craigslist I found it (after two or more weeks had passed). The end result found Maria and I driving around Wayne County trying to find an address, me writing a check and now me trying to find a place for this new project. So I bought myself a birthday present.
I have always felt boats were a hole in the water you throw money into. This one came with a low price tag, but I am afraid of what the final cost will be. I am figuring out it's pedigree. It's hull was made in Texas, shipped by train to Penn Yan, finished by the Angler Boat Company and sold by Sears and Roebuck as an Elgin.
It needs a motor, steering, seats, lights, lots of bright work, a few repairs, bottom paint, top varnish and then trying to get the thing legal. That said, I anticipate taking our mahogany runabout to Pittsford with my bride for a dinner on the canal. Or a nice day on Canandaigua Lake. It is small enough to be doable, big enough to be usable and could be a lot of fun.
I guess I have recovered from my stroke, though I will never have recovered. I still have speech problems, I still have balance problems, I still panic at times that I am not acting appropriately. These will always haunt me. I am too far advanced for speech therapy, a physical therapist can't find my balance problems and for the most part I do fine in social situations (though Maria too often ends up on the receiving end of inappropriate behavior. And I am sorry.)
So for the most part this blog will be turned towards the restoration of an Elgin fourteen foot mahogany runabout. I think the progress will be slow initially, but I am excited. At another time in my life I spent a lot of time with a boat builder, so this one is for you Mike. In a year or two, look for the bearded gray haired man and the pretty blond woman in the mahogany outboard.
I have had a stroke and it has changed my life in many ways. I will never be the same, but I don't see that as a problem, it is a challenge. The world is never the same from one day to the next, but I survive in it and thrive in it. And I get more resilient and stronger every day, stroke or not. Now it's time to keep moving.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Life Continues

To quote my brother, "Life has been a little full lately." But his life can be full by choice or at least the choice not to make it less full. I have had a number of thing just come together at the same time, making life a little busier. If you find me these days, I can't speak as well as I could a month ago, at least that is how I feel.

I actually seem to be getting some of my vocabulary back, but having it and having to think about it is again taking a toll. I will deal with it. Today had me landing more work, but this is unique in that my competitor was my old employer and the customer was one I fought for while I was there. Several days of phone calls and reviewing my bid from January has gotten wearing but it all became worth it when I was awarded the contract today. Somewhat scarily I now have 3/4 of a million in work to run. Pretty cool and scary when you know you are missing a good chunk of your brain. I will get through it and prosper.

Add to that reporting for jury duty yesterday, which I was excused from, partly because of my brain injury. The bad part was it sounded like an interesting trial. And all this come with other problems at work, having nothing to do with me, still affecting us all in the office. Hopefully they will work themselves out. And the prom approaches this weekend which was fine until Maria rented the fateful limo and the drama began. I have tried to reinforce that the limo is Maddy's since she and Maria rented it and filling it is her discretion. Life should calm down very soon.

But on a positive note, I am in the third week of being gluten free, except beer. Okay this is a problem, but even with much smaller amount of beer I consume I feel much better and I have lost some weight. I am looking at the Paleo/Arheo diet and trying to learn. I see my doctor in a couple of weeks and should find out more.

I have also been very busy reading and will update the list soon. And two posts in May. Life is full but good.

Monday, May 9, 2011


I just saw my book list and it is horribly out dated. I have finished the Aubrey Maturin series with the exception of 21. We were coerced in purchasing the weekend edition of the New York Times, for fear of losing our digital rights, so now have too much to read. More soon and current reading list. And completely of subject, an excellent Kentucky Derby, not one of the horses I chose, but a great race. So I picked the winner of the Woodruff Stakes so it wasn't a real loss.

Books will be coming soon.


I spent the first year after the stroke just trying to wrap my head around it. I walked, slept and tried to deal with these little limitation that keep manifesting themselves. Some where in the second year I started noticing that life was returning to some semblance of normal, not quite normal mind you but better than it had been in a year. At around 18 months I got the opportunity to go back to work on a part time basis and now that we approach the 2 year mark I am working nearly full time.

In the life that transpired during this, I lost first my father, and then a year and three months later, my mother. Both lived fully in their own rights and are now someplace arguing, my father with the drink in his hand and my mother trying to take it away, while Do You Love Me from Fiddler on the Roof plays in the background. Somehow we became a family of Russian Jews, land far from our Anglo and Germanic heritages.

But I am now realizing that I am in the third stage after the stroke. I am now rebuilding, with a passion. Some of what drives me crazy is realizing how preventable my stroke was. There were the two biggies, smoking and drinking too much beer, but I think that it is more related to diet.

Maria and I recently stayed in Providence, Rhode Island where she presented and worked at the American Society for Indexing conference. My Meg is also in Providence, in her final year at RISD. On Friday, Meg and I drove to Cape Cod to see an old friend. Meg and Steve are jewellers and jewellery and art monopolized a lot of the conversation, but Steve and I are also at that wonderful 51 year mark where things can go to hell or not pretty quickly and get harder to get back. We are both pretty active, he probably more that me, but have both felt some of time's wear and tear. He recently changed his diet cutting out glutens and dropped 25 pounds and claims to feel great. And he looks better. Meg also has been gluten free for quite a while, having any number of problems with wheat and milk,

So here I am a week into a gluten free diet. I could care less about the weight, I never weighed enough. I do care about the fat and I do care about any number of things that were continually bothering me. I am starved most of the time and learning this on the fly. But the TUM's bottle has not been touched in few days and I don't have an upset stomach much of the time.

There is more going on too, but I will save it for another night. Now that I am "recovered" I have this need to push myself and make myself better than I was. There are days my back is sore, I get exhausted and my knees don't work. Sciatica has reared its ugly head, slowing me down some, but most days there is no hope of running. But I am going to make myself better. I have a new bucket list and aim to stay alive to complete it.

And since I am never seen on facebook anymore, Happy Birthday Mr. Dwyer! a few days late.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Catch Up

For starters I have to say "Go Green Bay!" I really enjoyed that Super Bowl.

Work goes well. It is trickling in and I enjoy what I do. I completed one tiny job and may have a lot more work. It remains in a kind of bureaucratic limbo though. Unbeknownst to me I was fast tracked through the Social Security Disability process. I started work and was deemed disabled at the save time. So I think I am on a back to work program. At some point the paperwork may catch up. But I continue to work and get less and less tired.

In the time I have been working, from the end of October, my Mother has taken serious turn. She has been diagnosed with a condition called Cortico Ganglio Basil Degeneration (CGBD). I kiddingly refer to it as CBGB's and Mother is a punk rocker, but it is really no laughing matter. In a matter of three months she has gone from living on her own at home to being wheelchair bound, unable to walk or feed her self in skilled nursing. It is one of the many Parkinson's like brain diseases which sadly cripple and eventually kill people. I spent the weekend at home and I pray that she is spared soon. There is no cure and she is beyond anything slowing or controlling it.

To add to matters, a brother managed to have a heart attack, but not a stroke, while he was visiting Las Vegas for a conference. It hasn't been a good couple of years for Hinges. But his heart attack was caught before any heart damage was done and with luck he will recover quickly.

I have to promise myself not to let this go again. It has been too easy since I have been back to work. I would like to say I am all recovered, being back to work almost full time, but I am not. Things are going well, and I hope they keep getting better. But I still get frustrated with my speech and I still get fatigued. Yes I am a hell of a lot better and I am very grateful. I will keep you posted on how things continue.