Thursday, January 25, 2007

We get our vaults from a company called Wilbert Vault out of Springfield. We order them one by one, as the need arises, and when they come with them they place them in the evacuated hole for us. The driver with this one arrived to early and we were still just defrosting the ground to be able to dig. He wanted to know where he could leave it until we were ready for it. I told him "anywhere along the road as we are not using the area for burials". He chose this spot, on top of a dirt pile to be funny, I assume. Looks kinda like the New Orleans area after a flood. The driver that came later to set the vault was not very amused as he had a really tough time getting it off the pile.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Drug Store musings

A Drug Store is still a Drug Store,Right? Does this one look like one you had in your home town? Looks just like the one we had and it was called Urton's Rexall Drug. We had another Drug Store in town called Sturgis Drug and it was owned by our next door neighbor. We never went there but I don't know why. Urtons was our drug store. Being a budding young photographer, I purchased my first 35mm camera at Urton's and they developed all of my photographs there. Before I bought my camera I was in to developing Black and Whites and then to enlarging and everything was bought at Urtons including my enlarger. From the Pharmacists I got excellent advice about how to develop film and printing pictures. It was all part of his job I guess. At this time I also had my basement chemistry set up and running and so my buddy Steve and I were always in the store soliciting information and advice, such as making explosives. The ingredients for gunpowder are charcoal, sulfur and saltpeter and we bought it all from our friendly Rexall Drug store as well as buying glass wear and other chemicals. Prophylactics were kept on shelves next to where the druggists worked and it was where I would always stand when I came in to visit. The prophylactic corner. I spent hours there.

Urtons was always on my Christmas shopping tour as it was a great source for everyone. After my wife and I were married, I purchased hair car items for her at Rexall as Christmas presents. 1st year I purchased a plastic box that had a cord you plugged in and it heated up the hair curlers inside. Next I purchased a portable hair dryer, just like a professional one, and I remembered it looked like a space helmet. I also bought a ton of Auqua Velva and Old Spice for my Dad and Brothers. It was a great store. I can still, in my mind, wander up and down the aisles. Rexall in the U.S. disappeared around 1977 but still remains strong in Canada.

Today, Dale and I went to a grand opening for a new CVS drug store in town. We had an existing CVS that was OK but someone decided we needed a fancy smancy CVS so we got a new one. Back in the pharmacy area, I stood watching the three pharmacists hastily filling orders still trying to figure out the new system and I noticed that there was no where that I would be able to go to visit with one of them for a couple of hours. The only area that was available was at the counter that had a huge "CONSULTATIONS" sign over it. There wasn't even an area that had prophylactics on the shelves where I could stand but those are kept up front now days any way. Everything changes. They sell food in these "new" Drug Stores, just like a grocery store. They publish the good deals in a flyer for the Sunday papers. I watch it a little bit, and did you know you can buy Jello for about 30 cents a box when it is on sale? Not bad. They also sell clothing and have specials alot, on T shirts. They all compete very strongly with their photo departments and it makes picture takin pretty cheap for all of us and I do appreciate it. I have been transferring some of my slides from the 60's over to regular prints so I can scan them and put them in this blog for all the world to see. Our Drug Store is Walgreens and the last time I went in with some slides, the kid behind the counter said "give me 5 minutes" and when I came back, he handed me my prints. Super!!

All of the aisles were well lit and airy but I felt like I was on camera. There was one of those up where you came into the store. You know, one with a screen right beside it so you can see the top of your head as you come in. That is probably there as a customer courtesy so you can check your hair to see if it is wind blown or something. I don't have much hair but what I do have tends to blow easily and stands straight up in the air. People are always running their hand through their hair and looking at my hair as if they want me to do the same. I usually comply and then we all laugh nervously and say something stupid about my hair. I appreciate those cameras and monitors. They did have nice furniture, in the pharmacy area, so I could sit down and wait if I chose. I chose to leave as suddenly the entire thing didn't sound or look right. May be I am just getting old. I miss the orange and blue and the old Drug Stores. May be I'll go over to The Home Depot and whine a bit.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Sleep Apnea

Sleep Apnea is a condition where you literally stop breathing. "Apnea" is a Greek word meaning "without breath".Those with apnea literally stop breathing in their sleep. Typically the soft tissue, in the rear of the throat, collapses and closes the airway so that victims of sleep apnea stop breathing repeatedly during sleep; as frequently as a hundred times an hour and as little as five to seven times an hour. Snoring is a cardinal sign that Sleep Apnea may exist. Consequences of untreated sleep apnea include: Falling asleep during the day-at-work, driving a motor vehicle, etc; Morning headaches; Loss of energy; Trouble concentrating; Irritability, short temper; Forgetfulness; Mood or behavior changes; Anxiety or depression; Decreased interest in sex; Death. I am not trying to sound like a billboard for Sleep Apnea but before I was diagnosed I couldn't even pronounce Apnea let alone know what it meant. according to my Doc, what happens is you go to sleep and your tongue etc all relax and close off your throat. Your body sends a signal to your brain that you need air and it in turn fires up your adrenal gland which sends out adrenaline which wakes you up which unrelaxes your tongue, etc. and opens up your throat letting air flow. You are now awake but you won't remember it. Something like that happens anyway. My Dr. said that my sleep test showed me to be as high as 70 times per hour. He said I had a severe case of sleep apnea and CPAP therapy was necessary and had anyone ever told me that I was developing Cataracts. Just what I needed, something else wrong with me. What a day.

The photo is one that I got off the net and shows a typical mask and user. This should drive my wife away for sure. The thing is she has sleep apnea also and is taking her Sleep Test next week. We should look cute, in bed, with our matching masks. Intimacy might be a problem. She found out she had sleep apnea when she had her last breast surgery. The Surgeon didn't realize she had it and told her afterwards that they thought they were going to have to jump start her as they had just administered an anaesthetic to her and she stops breathing. Little bit of panic there.

My Dr. said I was pretty old for just being diagnosed and wanted to know how my Dr. figured it out. My Dr. is really a Physician's Assistant and during one of my appointments we were talking about dreams and I told him I often dreamed about drowning and being in a tunnel of sand and it was slowly collapsing. After that session he set me up for a sleep study. My Apnea Dr. said he did very good picking up on it. My PA also picked up on my heart problems when I came in for a shoulder injury because he thought that some of my pains were a little close to the chest and he made me go see a cardiologists. Good PA! I am just now getting treatment for the shoulder injury, but that is a different story.

Rudely Awoke

This morning at 6am I found myself napping on my recliner in the living room. Normally I am up at 5 for the day but today I woke as normal and decided to catch a few more hours of sleep. I didn't need to do things until 8am and a few extra hours wouldn't hurt me. I covered myself with a blanket that my daughter had given me for Christmas. Suddenly a dog landed on my stomach and it was Maggie. Well isn't that cute, she wants to sleep with me? I slid over, in the chair, to make room for her as I petted her. It was at this time that she went "eurppp" and threw-up on me and the chair and my blanket. She then jumped down (wise choice) and threw up on the floor. I retrieved a roll of paper towels from the kitchen and started the clean up process. I heard a noise and looked over at the couch and there was Maggie, curled up in a ball, sound asleep and snoring.

If you look back at a couple of earlier posting you will know that Maggie is not ours but a friend's who is vacationing in Arizona. The dog is a little bit different and has been fun. She wears a full dog collar and still doesn't really like it so as she wears it she shakes a lot trying to get rid of it. She starts with a slow roll to the left and then a slow roll to the right, it is almost like she is winding up to shake. Then shakes so hard she sometimes falls over. Funny! Since she has been here she has learned to get along with the cat, Purrcy or is that the cat has decided to let her live. Anyway the two like to chase each other. This picture is a chase photo as the cat is stalking the dog and as I took the photo the cat attacked batting the dog in the head about 10 times before the dog could respond and then the chase was on. Time to come back and claim your dog Georgette.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Maggie is back for a while

Maggie is back for a while. His Mom left on vacation for a couple of weeks and we are providing an alternative to the Kennel. Simon likes the new arrangements but Purrsey is being a bit standoffish. Purrsey has taken up residence at the top of the stairs where he can survey his kingdom even if it means flashy red eyes while on Maggie watch.

Simon has done much better sharing things. The next photo shows the two greeting each other again. Went OK as no one got hurt. This new dog is spending her time searching the house, looking for Mom, I would judge, all the while letting out little yelps. {Sorry Georgette} She will get over it by tomorrow and start settling in. When she normally travels around the house she makes more noise than three dogs snorting, yelping and breathing hard. The only problem we have seen so far is that she constantly travels in a cloud of gas. Anyway, welcome Maggie, if you get too lonesome or restless we can always take you down to Sam, Mike and Ellen's house to spend the day with Randy and Boo.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Teeth problems

There is no better feeling than when all of the pain goes away as in "Teeth". It starts out with and abscessed tooth that causes terrible pain and you fight it with all sorts of things such as aspirin, Tylenol, Advil and maybe even all three at once as you work up to the old wives tales looking for a solution that will allow you to concentrate on something other than your tooth. You even contemplate pulling the tooth yourself. I had a friend that did that for real. He, also, was going to deliver their first baby because he had already done it 100's of times with cows, so how tough could that be. You can guess who won that discussion. They used to always do that in the "Good Old Days" and that was before Novocaine. So whats the big deal? I'm just as tough as they were so I should be able to do it myself, also. Right? Its called hallucinating. Hell no you can't do it yourself. You would pass out when you saw the extraction tools and the doorknob trick only works with kids teeth. Hopefully your dentist is as accommodating as mine was and gets you in right away to at least look and give you a prescription to take the pain and the poison away, i.e. Tylenol with CODEINE and penicillin tablets.

As I sat in the waiting room at 9am the following morning, I started to get the cold sweats. I wasn't worried about the tooth as the pain was almost gone but I was worried about the upcoming procedure. No. 1, I knew I was going to get a lecture from the good Doctor for missing my last few scheduled cleanings and canceling my visit to have a small filling. That small filling was probably this big problem I have right now. #2, I have had teeth pulled before and I kinda knew what to look forward to and I knew these two were going to be problems. As you probably can guess, by this time I was sweating more and more in anticipation of the doom awaiting me in the next room. My mind starts flashing back to bad, older, dental experiences. I dwell for a while on my first dentist in his office with the slow speed drill. The drill was a series of pulleys with leathers going from pulley to pulley starting at a motor on the floor and ending at the dentist drill. The motor turned a leather string up to the first pulley and then on to the next pulley unitl it reached the actual drill. It was a horrible machine as it slowly ground away the decayed parts of my teeth. My dentist was a nice man as he would always tell me a few stories about gun collecting. He collected guns associated with historical characters. He personaly owned one of Wild Bill Hitchcock's colt 45's. The drill sounded like a slow speed Dremel tool and it would slow right down as he started drilling and then almost stop so he would pull it away from the tooth until it got back to speed and then start again.
The next dentist that I could roll around in my mind was a young Dentist located just off campus, where I was going to college. He was about the only one it town that was taking new patients and I soon found out why he had openings. He decided that I needed a root canal for my decayed tooth and I don't think he had ever done one before mine. During the drilling process of removing the roots of my tooth from the inside, he hit something that caused me the most pain I have ever endured. It caused me to break out in a 100% instant sweat and as I laid in the chair completely soaked he said "that shouldn't of happened because you don't have any roots left down there." When he was finishing the root canal, he filled the tooth and put a temporary cap on it and sent me home with a prescription for codeine and a phone number list of where he would be that evening in case I had problems. I caught up with him at the movie theater and he came back and drilled out the filling that night as I couldn't stand the pain. Must have left his watch down there or something. Twice during the drilling process he lost drill bits. He;d say "Freeze, don't move" and go and retrieve the bit. The second time he had to grab it with a magnet as it was partially down my throat. I have never even considered a root canal since. Dr Bonkowski didn't do any such thing. He simply pulled the offending teeth with the minimal amount of pain possible and sent me off with good scripts to alleviate any future pain and to speed healing. Thank heaven for good Dentists.

As I set here writing this I am completely pain free and except for a big hole in my mouth all things are back to normal. When I started this post I said "There is no better feeling than when all of the pain goes away as in 'Teeth'." As I was researching this posting I came across a neat article on "Tooth Jumping" that is interesting reading. Just click the Mountain News hyperlink. Smokey MT. News, Mountain News .


Just waiting for some action outside so that they can start barking, meowing and scratching to go out!

Friday, January 05, 2007

07 A better year?

I thought for sure that 2007 had to be a better year, especially for me with a 06 heart attack. The weather has been glorious as we have yet to see a real snowflake and tomorrow is to be 64. It has made it possible for us to get lots of work done in our cemetery and we are even still getting new grass on graves to grow. Health wise it hasn't been as rosy as today I spent my morning having my teeth pulled. Two of my front teeth are abscessed and had to come out. It kinda sneaked up on me because of the medication I was taking for my heart, my sleep problem and prostate problems. I had one day of bad pain and my Dentist agreed to come in today [Friday is normally his day off] and pull the offending suckers. The two teeth were side by side and the 1st one came out with very few problems. The second tooth was a different animal all together. The root was about 1" long and the tooth had a lot of decay which lent it very capable of breaking at the gum line and would require major work if it did. Dr Bonkowski kept loading me up with more and more Novocain as I kept getting very intense pain as extraction was attempted. Finally, at one point, I said "go ahead and pull it Doc as I am sure I can tough it out for a couple of intense moments". Brave of me as I am the biggest wimp ever when it comes to teeth pain. Dr Bonkowski replied "no patient of mine will ever go through all of that pain with what we have available to deaden the pain". I don't know what he did but he managed to deaden the pain source and pull the tooth without me crying. There are good dentists in this world and then their are great dentists. Joe is one of the greats. He wrote me a prescription for 10 Oxycodone tablets and sent me on my way with a handful of 2x2 absorbent pads. I just had a bowl of soup and a bowl of chocolate pudding when I received a call from the good Dr. checking up on me.

This whole incident set us back $400. A few minutes ago my wife called and said that she was stopped at a stop light for entrance to the Mass Pike and was rear-ended by a 3/4 ton Dodge pickup. The rest of the family was in the van as they were heading out for supper and no one was hurt. The hell with worrying about what 07 brings us and I think we will just worry about what tomorrow brings. Maggie's mommy brought her by today so she could poop and pee on the office floor and spend time getting to know Dale and I think she is coming to stay for a week or so next week.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Bench and Turkey

My friend T.F.Stern from T F Stern's Rantings left me a comment yesterday on my Jerky posting and I thought I could elaborate on it a bit.
T. F. Stern said...
"Ted, Just noticed that the piece of furniture is nearly identical to one we have. My folks gave it to us when they sold their Houston house and went to Florida."
7:27 PM

I decided to include a photo, sans the destroyed goodies, so readers would know what we were talking about.

This is what we call a New England bench and they are all basically the same except they are all hand painted so each is different. I don't know if there is another name for these benches. We were dropping clothing and some furniture off at our local Salvation Army store and decided to stroll around a bit, as we did. We frequently drop things off there but never go inside as I guess we were embarrassed to be seen shopping there or something. Glad we did as we picked up the bench for $25 or $30 and then we found 6 stools at $5 each for our eating bar in the kitchen. We had been looking for a long time for the right stools and there they were. I also found a goose down vest for work at about $3. We ring the bell for them at Christmas and through various fund raisers we work with, The Salvation Army is always on the top of the list. The Salvation Army provides screening services for recipients of Christmas presents our groups give. The Salvation Army provides screening services for us for food and financial help to the needy. By purchasing items from their store we provide working capital for paying the clerks and management to keep the store open. It is a win-win situation.

T.R.Stern, by having that bench just might prove that you are really displaced "Snow Bunnies" hiding out in Houston. Just an observation that the ex-cop, in me, brings out from time to time. Sorry.