Changes

I used to love this blog. Then it got to be like a job. I was trying to force things to post about. I stressed over it. So I quit. Tried to come back last year, couldn’t quite pull it off. But life is a funny thing. Just when you think you have nothing more to say something happens and you realize there were a ton of things to say, stories to tell, events to share. Some of the problem is Facebook/Twitter. Why keep up with a whole blog when you can click share or post pics to tell your story?

But life can’t be told in 140 characters can it? And even the most mundane Facebook post can spark uncivil war. So maybe it’s time to revisit the old Suburban Guerrilla homeblog. Tell some stories that need to be told and some that don’t. There have been a lot of things happen in this trailer park since I last posted regularly. Lots of epic tailgates. Two puppies have joined the crew and one has been lost. The Princess and Budman have grown up and out.

So I think I’ll try to go back and capture some of those stories. Memorialize some of those precious memories. Share some of those good times. And that is important because life brings unexpected changes. We’re all going to need those great memories as we live through some not so great times.

Life can change in an instant. In our case it was not like a lightning bolt. More like a slow motion train wreck. It started with a cold. Or the flu. Or some other passing annoyance that just hung around. The Esposa got sick. Then her Mother passed away. Facing a long car trip we decided to hit the ER for a Z pack and maybe an inhaler. In and out we thought. Go early in the AM, out in time to stop for lunch while the pharmacy filled the prescriptions.

If only.

Within an hour pneumonia was diagnosed. Within two she was in the ICU. By dinnertime on a ventilator, packed in ice to bring down her 105 degree fever. Within 24 hours chemically paralyzed and strapped into a device that kept her flipped on her front side so her lungs could expand. Within 48 hours tests confirmed she had Legionnaire’s pneumonia. We almost lost her. Christmas came and went. Then New Year’s. But she fought her way through it. Weak and beat down. All we needed was a couple of weeks in rehab. Physical therapy. Get her strength back.

If only.

Doctors at the rehab hospital were concerned about a potential intestinal blockage. They ordered an abdominal CT scan. Then they scheduled another for the next day, with dye this time. What they didn’t say was that they found concerning liver spots on the first one and needed the second to confirm a diagnosis. A diagnosis that no one would enunciate. It was there in their downcast eyes. In their lowered voices. Transferred back to the big hospital for more confirming tests, biopsies and such.

After 4 days the diagnosis was clear, but the tests would take several more days to come back. So we fought our way out of the hospital, lined up some home nurses and she got to sleep in her own bed for the first time in three weeks. Oncology appointments. Chemotherapy. Surgical insertion of a chemo port. Now, just fight through it. It’s just lost hair and nausea.

If only.

Four weeks in, oncologist notices an irregular pulse rate. Referred to a cardiologist. Diagnosis? Atrial Fibrillation. More pills. More risk. More worries.

Multiple times throughout this truly slow motion two month and counting train wreck I have thrown up my hands. “Jesus take the wheel!” But I always grab it back, try to fake like I’m in control again, only to realize (once again) that I’m not in charge here.

So to keep myself from looking forward past the next round of meds, the next round of chemo, the next doctor’s appointment; I’m going to look back. Write stories about the good times. Road trip to Tuscaloosa to watch Johnny Football beat Bama. Buying a boat last summer. Nights at the Dixie Chicken. Years worth of good memories to retain, relive and retell.

A sweet distraction from the truth. The truth is that I lack the faith and courage to relinquish control of my life to God. And maybe while I’m distracted I can finally cede control. Finally have the faith that I need to have. And let God take control.

Good times.

 

America’s Debt

There has been a lot of political rhetoric thrown about during the recent debates on raising the debt ceiling. Finally I have found a politician that speaks to me on federal debt:

The fact that we are here today to debate raising America’s debt limit is a sign of leadership failure. It is a sign that the U.S. government can’t pay its own bills. It is a sign that we now depend on ongoing financial assistance from foreign countries to finance our government’s reckless fiscal policies . . . Increasing America’s debt weakens us domestically and internationally. Leadership means that “the buck stops here.” Instead, Washington is shifting the burden of bad choices today onto the backs of our children and grandchildren. America has a debt problem and a failure of leadership. Americans deserve better.

Americans deserve better indeed. The thoughtful politician who uttered those words?

Barack H. Obama on March 20, 2006 as he prepared to vote against raising the debt ceiling at the request of the Bush administration.

Candles for Waylon

Waylon Jennings – Tonight The Bottle Let Me Down


It’s been awhile since I blogged here. Thought I’d drop by to share some more country music on the occassion of what would have been Waylon Jennings’ 72nd birthday.

My parents were big fans of Waylon’s early music. I became a fan of his “outlaw” music in the 70’s. He came to the Black Eyed Pea Jamboree in Athens in 1976 or so with Willie. I’m not sure the Spanish Trace Inn has ever seen the likes of Waylon and his gang, and probably never will.

This selection combines both old and outlaw Waylon, with a bonus of an outstanding pedal steel guitar line, as all my faves usually do.

Ever notice that it’s always the old fat guy on pedal steel guitar? I think I gotta learn me some of that.

Rollback. Flashback.

 

What goes around comes around
What goes around comes around

The year was 1971. After 24 years in the military my Dad had finally figured out what he wanted to be when he grew up. He loaded up all his Navy retirement money and bought a service station. Conveniently located on IH 35 E – R.L. Thornton Freeway in Dallas, just up the hill from the Dallas Zoo. It was right about that time that I remember ~30 cent gasoline. It was a Gulf station with three different grades of fuel. No-Nox was premium or ethyl. Good Gulf was regular. And there was a brand new grade that had just been introduced, Gulftane – Low Lead. It seems that folks were figuring out that perhaps lead wasn’t healthy for humans or the environment. We didn’t sell any of it but we had it.

 

Anyway, all that was to tell this story about buying cheap gas the other night. Local grocer Tom Thumb – A Safeway Company, has a fuel promotion. For every $100 worth of groceries you buy you get 10 cents off per gallon at their fueling stations. They’ve done this for awhile, but their new promotion allows you to save them up and use them all at the same time. So we did. Eleven of them. A dollar ten cents off. So it was with great pleasure I filled up Esposa’s MegaSUV for a mere nine dollars the other night. To amplify the savings, we had an outbreak of global warming and it was around 27 degrees Farenheit with a 25 mph north wind so if the experts are right and you get more for your money when it’s cold, it was a double Yahtzee.

Now. Back to reality. That means we spent $1100 on groceries between Labor Day and Thanksgiving. Let me consult the Semitough Magic 8 Ball for an appropriate reaction:

The Sun Also Rises

sunset_txstadiumThe sun set on another great season of Wildcat football tonight with a heartbreaking last minute loss to Trinity, 35-42.

I was all set to blog about the classlessness of Trinity for booing our band as they played the school song during the pregame show, but after watching 48 minutes of hard hitting, gut wrenching football. After watching our kids leave it all on the field in what will become an instant classic high school football game. And after watching the Trinity kids huddling around Plano’s Mr. Superman, Rex Burkhead after the game, it all seemed a little petty. I did not film the Trinity Haka dance, which Esposa now calls the “Phelgm Dance” due to lack of equipment (left the camera in the car.) But it’s probably best. It’s their tradition. It’s what they do. So be it.

I snapped this picture with my cell phone as the last rays of the setting sun filtered through the hole in the roof at Texas Stadium. Today will mark my last visit there. The Cowboys will have a few more games, but soon enough the seats will be ripped out and carted away for sale as souvenirs. I’m sure other fixtures will be as well. The shell that is left will be demolished to make room for other development. And from the dust of what is left something new will emerge.

Many of the Plano football stalwarts will be graduating this year, the players that have made the past few seasons so exciting. But next year will bring new stars and out of the dust of this season, something new will emerge.

Great season Cats. See you next fall.

Comida Deluxe

Now that's some fine eatin' right there
Now that is some fine eatin' right there

Comida Deluxe is actually the name of the combination plate I had for dinner last night at the new Plano Chuy’s (of Austin fame). Two cheese enchiladas, flautas, beef taco and queso tostada with rice & refries.

But to call this simply nachos is to understate the awesomeness that is the $8 “Super Bowl Nachos” served at Texas Stadium. Chips, cheese, chili, pico de gallo all topped with a healthy pile of smokin’ hot jalapenos.

Note the paw in the background. Wildcats 42, Panthers 15. We live to play another week although the next game will likely be versus the overheated and overhyped Trinity Trojans. Number one in the nation and stars of their own Gatorade commercial (Can you pay the toll?). Meh. I have committed to my northern readers to at least attempt to catch the Trojan Haka dance and publish here. We’ll see.

Oddest thing at the game. The opposing team’s mascot was the panther. As far as I know a member of the cat family. Which would come nowhere near explaining why at different points during the game their band broke into the Florida State Seminole chant type music and the fans did the Tomahawk Chop. Strange indeed.

Best overheard quote: (Note this is a high school team playing in an NFL stadium) “Hey, they don’t have a big TV to show the replays on like we have at home.”