Thursday, January 22, 2009

It's Freezing in Palm Bay!

This has happened only 4 or 5 times in the twelve years we've lived here.

I actually wore my denim jacket yesterday. I haven't worn that since we went to Louisiana in December of 2006.

Though of course I wore a short sleeved shirt under it, because when it gets below 60 degrees in Florida, the masses overreact and crank up the building's heaters.

I spent part of my work day yesterday fanning myself because they had the heat up so high inside.

On a separate note, I went yesterday and had my second of three shots in my back.

They don't help with the back pain, but it almost totally knocks out the leg pain for a while, so I'm happy with that.

If the procedure itself wasn't so uncomfortable, even with the anesthetic, it would be a wonderful thing.

It's just a mental challenge to walk in there knowing that they will hurt you, but that in a day or so you will feel much better and that it will last a couple of weeks.

In all, not a bad trade-off; a day of pain for two weeks of pain relief.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

A Mini Van Adventure

I had a doctor's appointment yesterday morning, Monday, in Merritt Island, Florida.

Interstate 95 is a pretty potent death trap. I have driven the 10 miles or so of it between home and work many times, and have seen the aftermath of several auto accidents.

Yesterday morning, there was an accident in the northbound lane right where I needed to exit.

You can ask Lovely Wife, taking alternate routes to anywhere is not my strong suit.

My modus operandi is to learn the shortest/easiest/fastest path to any destination and then I DO NOT DEVIATE FROM THE KNOWN PATHWAY.

But, with the wreck there slowing the off-ramp traffic to a standstill, I thought I'd go north one more exit, just a couple of miles, and circle back through town to US 1 from which I could get back on my original road.

Alas, there was a wreck blocking the southbound exit onto US 1 where I needed to go! The cops were waving people past, and I had no choice.

(By the way, the paramedics were working on a man laying spread eagle on the road next to his motorcycle. I've never seen a fresh motorcycle accident like that, it was quite disturbing.)

The added horror was that I was now on my own in a strange location far from known roads. both of my know pathways to this doctor's office were blocked.

What's a guy to do?

After submitting myself to the fear of the unknown for a few seconds, I called the doctor's office to tell them I'd probably be a few minutes late.

Then I thought I'd just find the biggest road that would take me back south from my present location, and after a while, actually found my way to the doctor's office, but it was definitely touch and go there for a little while. Way out of my comfort zone as they say.

That's one good thing about totally flat terrain like here in Florida, most roads run pretty much north and south, east and west, because there are no hills to necessitate winding roads.

I saw the doctor and got some prescriptions.

They made three upcoming appointments for some shots in my lower back to hopefully lessen the pain in my left leg, starting Wednesday. That's "tomorrow" Wednesday, for the first shot. I've got scar tissue from four back surgeries down there so they usually end up having to work the needles around a bit to get them into the location they want to release the injection. Yes. That feels just about as bad as it sounds too.

But. If the overall effect is pain relief, then it will be worth it. I don't sleep well much any more, mostly because of leg pain.

And I keep picturing the guy from the motorcycle laying on the side of the road, and was glad I was driving a mini van.

Then I went to work.

Well, I didn't say it was an EXCITING mini van adventure now did I?

Friday, January 02, 2009

A Late Happy New Year to All

First, Happy New Year to all of you. God bless you all and give you a wonderful 2009!

Several years ago, Number Two Daughter decided she'd like to learn to play the guitar.

But if you're left-handed and want to learn guitar, your options are limited. You can either learn to play guitar right-handed, or pay a lot extra for a left-handed guitar (it's absurd how much more a left-handed guitar costs than the equivalent right-handed guitar), or you can convert a right-handed guitar to be playable by a left-handed person.

Number Two Daughter is very left-handed, so I searched for a reasonably priced left-handed guitar, and in the meantime, I looked for an inexpensive electric that I could convert to being left-handed (I remembered that Jimi Hendrix seemed to do pretty well on a right-handed guitar that had been converted for left-handed use).

Turns out that a guy I knew at work had a nice Samick brand electric guitar that he only wanted $50 for. But when I went to his condo to look at it to see if it was a guitar I thought I could work with, I was blown away by this lovely cherry sunburst, stratocaster-styled guitar. Of course I bought it.

I took it home and played it a bit, and looked it over again and fell in love with the grain and color of the mahogany body of the guitar.

But, the guitar wasn't for me, so that night, I took off the strings, removed and reversed the nut, put on new strings and intonated the guitar so that it would play in tune for a left-handed person.

I left it sitting out in her room that night where she could see it when she woke up in the morning.

Later that year, for her birthday, we bought her a nice, true left-handed guitar from an online store called Rondo Music. (They have a great selection of good quality left-handed guitars for incredibly low prices. I own several of their electric guitars and an electric bass from there.)

After she got the new, left-handed guitar, I took the Samick and re-converted it to right-handed playing, and I've played it since then.

With my back being so screwed up the past few years, I'd almost completely stopped playing guitar, and a few weeks ago, I started leaving one of my electrics beside my recliner in the living room. So now when I watch TV, I can practice chords and scales and whatnot on an unplugged electric which is quiet enough that I don't bother others in the room.

Many mornings my back wakes me up pretty early and I go sit in my chair, leaning on a heating pad to help relive the pain. Right now, the early morning sunlight comes into the room and shines for a few minutes right where I stand the guitar.

One morning I went and grabbed my camera because I loved how the warm morning sunlight enhanced the grain and beautiful colors of this $50 guitar.