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December has been pretty much of a shambles

December has been pretty much of a shambles

A flight of fancy

December started with a trip to Las Vegas to watch Todd Suhn in the big rodeo. I laid down the law to Our Lady of the Large Black Dog; I was not flying anywhere if it involved a flight at an absurd hour of the morning such as 6 AM. Deborah, wonderful woman that she is, carefully worked out an itinerary that involved taking off in the afternoon each way. Yay! Moreover we left and arrived at Pierre SD, a mere 48 miles away, as compared with leaving from Sioux Falls (190 miles) or Rapid City (230 Miles). Yay!

All too often well laid plans are destroyed by reality. Our flight from Pierre was supposed to leave in the late afternoon. We went through security. We sat around as they did things to the metal bird that would fly us to Minneapolis. (Flights to and from South Dakota involve a series of changes and layovers.) Eventually we got on the plane. The stewardess told us how to use our seat cushion as a flotation device in case we crashed over water. We waited. Then the pilot came on and said a metal sensor detected metal chips in an engine. He explained that this was not good and that some mechanics were coming in to check it out. We deplaned. We waited. Eventually we were informed that the plane wasn’t going anywhere and that there were no more flights out that evening. Thus began the mad scramble to reschedule.

There were a couple of helpful dweebs who rescheduled everybody despite problems with computers and lots of flight juggling. Helpful dweeb No. 1 cheerfully informed Deb that he had rescheduled both of us for the same time next day. It hadn’t occurred to him to check with us before rescheduling us. Naturally this didn’t work at all because we would get to Las Vegas far too late for the rodeo. Helpful dweeb No. 1 turned her over to helpful dweeb No. 2 to straighten everything out. (Yours truly left all of this to Deb. Yours truly sat down and read a book. This is called division of labor. I take care of the reading a book department and she takes care of the negotiating with helpful airline dweebs department.) Eventually after only an hour and half we were rescheduled … to fly out the next morning at 6 AM. Boo!

Delta kindly put us up at a local motel. We knew what to do next. I stopped at a local gas station and bought a bottle of Black Opal wine. (It’s quite decent; however the real merit was that it had a screwtop cap.) We called the local Pizza Ranch and had them deliver a pizza and some fried chicken. (My food fascist soul shuddered at the thought, and it shriveled up and died.) We swilled wine and munched on fast food and then hit the hay. I must have gotten all of 2 or 3 hours sleep before we got up at 4:00 in the morning. We put ourselves together and headed over to the airport where Deb reopened negotiations with the morning’s helpful dweeb. It seems that we had reservations but not seat assignments for the Minneapolis/Vegas leg – Delta’s computer system was convinced that we were already seated on another airplane. Master Negotiator Deborah Rinehart spent another hour negotiating with the computer and sundry dweebs.

This time metal birds flew and we arrived in Vegas in time to get checked in, recover, and get to the Thomas Mack to watch the Big Rodeo. Yay!

What happens in Vegas

The next few days were a blur. Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights we went to the rodeo and watch the cowboys and cowgirls do, ah, rodeo things. We also bowled at a charity event. What happens in Vega defies explanation.

I do want to mention accomodations. In the past we have stayed at various places on the strip. That’s where the best restaurants are, where the great shows are, and where the action is. The down side of the strip is that it is not near the arena. You must take a cab or a bus (they run free buses from the hotels to the arena.) The other down side of the strip hotels is that the casinos are omnipresent. You can’t go anywhere without hearing the racket of the slots. The besides of which the casinos are smokey.

This year we stayed at the Alexis Park. The Alexis Park is a complex of two story buildings containing suites. It has a central restaurant (a very good restaurant), a bar, and an entertainment area. It has NO, repeat NO slot machines and NO gambling paraphernalia. The buildings are around a large garden area with winding paths, swimming pools, a wedding chapel, and sundry cats. To your left there should be a picture of the grounds. As an added bonus it is within walking distance from the rodeo.

All in all it was a quieter, pleasanter, and more civilized place to stay.

Tote dat bale, tile dat floor

Having done our Vegas stint we returned to drear old Highmore to see what damage the cat had done. Thomas prefers to spend his time outdoors; apparently he feels that being locked inside a house for several days without any laps to occupy is an affront to his majesty that is not easily forgiven. As you may know the Egyptians believed (knew) that cats were gods. All cats know this to be true. For example, Thomas is the god of wanton destruction. On the right side of the page you may see an example of what he does to toilet paper and paper towels.

After cleaning up the feline ravages (and letting him outside) a moment of sordid truth arrived. Deb would be having ankle surgery on the 21st. She would be recuperating at my place. (No stairs, handicapped accessible) What had once been the utility room was to become her bedroom. Someone named Richard had never quite finished tiling that room. Someone named Deborah pointed out that the time to get it done was NOW.

And so I did. This was not a simple matter. It involved cutting a lot of tiles, moving a washer and dryer here and there, and doing some repair work where cement and plaster didn’t quite meet. The beside of which the plumbers opened up a wall (left open for future work) which had black mold behind it. The utility room has had a somewhat unsavory history in the distant past. After a certain amount of effort on Richard’s part the tiling was completed and the bad stuff was cleaned up. The plumbers installed a toilet, a sink, and new connections for the washer. All was ready for Deborah’s recuperation.

No, Richard, the thermometer isn’t broken

Somewhere along the way I acquired a nasty bug in my respiratory system. It kicked off one weekend. There is a rule of nature that says that nasty bugs operate best on the weekend. I am sitting there with a blanket wrapped around me. Deborah looked at me and asked if I was okay. Naturally I said yes. After all I am a man. She said my face was all red. I allowed as how I was a little warm. She insisted that I take my temperature. I dug out a thermometer and checked my temperature. It was 99.1 F. Oops. The thing is, my normal temperature with a mouth thermometer is 97.3 F. I’m not a 98.6 kind of guy. I think it has to do with having an oversized reptilian brain. This temperature thing is actually kind of entertaining. At the local clinic they use those ear thingies to check temperatures. According to the ear thingies my temperature is somewhere between 94 and 95. One time it came in at 91. The doctor told the nurse that I must be dead. Who am I to argue with a doctor? For all I know he might have been right.

But I digress. The point is that for me 99.1 is like 100.4 for you mammals. The weekend rolled on. I took some tylenol. I had interesting sleeping sessions. I constructed this elaborate fantasy in which I was playing in the world series of poker. I would tell the young studs, “I hate to do this son, but I really need your chips.” Then I would bust them. The fantasy ended with my playing heads up against Phil Ivey. I busted him with a straight flush against his four nines. The odd thing is that although the story line was quite satisfying I couldn’t remember Phil Ivey’s name. Pity. I could use the prize money.

But I digress. My temperature went up to 100.1 F. Not good. Monday I went over to the local clinic. My blood pressure was 150/80. It usually is around 110/60. My pulse rate was 117. Normally it is 80-95 (atrial fibrillation don’t you know.) My oxygen utilization was 93-95. Normally it is 98-99. These were not good numbers. They recommended taking a couple of tylenol every six hours. This fell short of being good advice. They also wrote a prescription for an antibiotic called cipra. This was good advice.

Monday evening I took my temperature. Apparently something was wrong with my thermometer. It flashed some stuff I didn’t quite understand and then said my temperature was 102.4. Clearly the thermometer was broken. Deborah said that she should drive me to the emergency room in Pierre – 48 miles away. I allowed as how that might be a good idea. She called the emergency room. They allowed as how there wasn’t much they could do late at night. HOWEVER, they had good advice. They said I should alternate between taking doubled doses of tylenol and ibuprofen every three hours. This did the trick. The fever broke to the accompaniment of an amazing amount of night sweats two nights running. I changed sheets twice. It took a while for cipra to knock out the infection but I seem to be cured. I still need extra amounts of sleep and I get tired faster. Oh yes, once the fever broke I could remember Phil Ivey’s name.

Incidentally, ibuprofen is the fever buster of choice for those of us in our gilded years. The gilded years are the ones that come after the golden years. (Deborah insists I am in my golden years. I agree. All my years are golden.)

The eyes have it

Whilst I was recovering from my mystery bug Deborah woke up one morning with an excruciating pain in her left eye. Seeing her eye doctor was an immediate necessity. She called me to let me know what was going on, but wisely got a ride to Pierre with someone more comfortable with being up early in the morning.

It turned out that because of dry eyes that her eyelid had stuck to her cornea causing a condition called erosion of the cornea. The eye doctor put a contact bandage on her eye which got things back to normal. She now takes eye drops regularly and an eye ointment.

Deborah does surgery

A week after that overheated Monday we made our way down to that throbbing metropolis of the plains, Sioux Falls. We did some serious shopping Monday afternoon and evening. (I felt that Deb should have a nifty TV for her bedroom.) Tuesday she went to see the man with the knife. The deal is that she had a lump in her ankle. She’s had it for years. Originally it was just a minor annoyance but it has gotten larger over time. It had become painful and made it difficult to wear shoes with sides. It was definitely time to do something about it.

First she went to specialist number one. This man called her sweets, took an MRI he couldn’t read, and made things worse. She quite wisely decided that this was not the doctor for her. She made an appointment with doctor number two, the son of a very good doctor who had treated her many years ago. This was a good choice.

The surgery went well. The lump was a benign vascular growth. While the doctor was in he repaired a torn tendon. An unfortunate truth is that ankle surgery is inherently painful, both in the deed itself and in the recovery. They gave her a nerve block for the first day and a half so that she couldn’t feel her foot. They also gave lots of pain pills for when she could feel her foot. They also gave her crutches so that she could hop about on her good foot. We stayed in Sioux Falls an extra day just in case something bad happened. Nothing did, so we headed back to Highmore.

Richard plays practical nurse

Once we were at home, Deborah settled into the business of recuperation. We quickly learned certain truths that we hadn’t fully appreciated. One is that if you aren’t convalescing in your very own home, there are all sorts of little things that you just hadn’t thought about. Another is that when you are on crutches and are in recovery you need a lot of help for the simplest things.

This it is that Richard got to do all sorts of things that were in new territory. Every day I changed the dressing on her foot. I cooked. I did her laundry and mine. I fetched for her, little things like filling her glass of water, spreading blankets for her, helping her shower, and making coffee. One doesn’t think about these things but making coffee is really quite difficult if (a) you grind your coffee, and (b) you have to fill the coffee pot with water. The problem is that you can’t carry things because you need both hands for your crutches.

I could go on, but the matter is simple enough. If someone wasn’t there to wait on her and help her, she would have had to recover in the nursing home. One doesn’t appreciate these things until you have been through them.

Christmas Eve

Quite naturally we expected that we wouldn’t do anything special for Christmas and that we would have a quiet Christmas eve because Deb was just back from surgery. However Deb mentioned to family members that it would be nice if they could stop by. They did … all seventeen of them.

It was not a quiet evening to ourselves, but it was a very good party and Deborah had a wonderful time. She was wiped out the next day but I am sure it was worth it.

2010 goes out with a bang

December was not done with us. We spent a few quiet days relaxing while Deborah gradually recovered. And then we got a winter storm on the last two days of December. It was a doozy. It came with a foot of snow and howling non-stop blizzard winds. The entire state of South Dakota was on a no-travel advisory. Anything that had to be done at the end of the year had to be done inside because we sure weren’t going anywhere.

Like I say, December was a shambles.

Two feet of snow

In case you are wondering here is what two feet of snow looks like.

Site traffic for 2010

Site traffic declined in 2010. I expect that this is mostly due to the fact that June, July, and August disappeared without a trace. If I can keep up the schedule in 2011 I expect that they will rebound a bit. Anyway here are the numbers:

Visitors – 890412, Pages – 2173992, Hits – 2507315, Traffic – 15.65 GB

Just wanted you to know

There were probably many, many times this past year when

I may have…..

Disturbed You,
Troubled You,
Pestered You,
Irritated You,
Bugged You,
Or got on your Nerves!!
So today, I just wanted to tell you….

Suck it up Cupcake!!

Cause there


Planned for 2011!!

This page was last updated January 4, 2011.

table of contents
Collected editorials