Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Latest Update About Hurricane Earl

Veronica and I just found out that there will be a mandatory evacuation due to the upcoming visit from Hurricane Earl.
The mandatory evacuation begins tomorrow at 1PM.
I just got off of the telephone with the Hampton Inn, in Williamston NC to let them know that we would be arriving there a night earlier.
This might be my last update until we get to our hotel tomorrow night. It all depends on how quick I get everything done.
Time to get things done.
See you on the "flip side".

Hurricane Earl Update- I Must Have A BullsEye Painted On My Back

Veronica and I spent a majority of the afternoon packing some essentials up and putting them in our car.
File boxes, emergency stash of clothes, soda pop, water, toilet paper, towels, soap, flashlights, non perishable food, medications etc.
All of these items are now in our very recently gassed up car.
Based on the most recent weather channel reports, Hurricane Earl, a strong category 4 hurricane is heading in our direction.
Based on what I am hearing now, the Outer Banks could get hit hard.
Once again it all depends on how far West it moves. The further West, the worse it will be for us.
It is kind of strange seeing a Weather Channel reporter making his live report from Kill Devil Hills, right up the road from where we live. What is even stranger is the fact that the sun is shining and the ocean is fairly calm with minimal waves in the background while this reported was making his live report.
And to think that all of that nastiness is just around the corner.
We are preparing for a very possible mandatory evacuation.
We even booked a hotel room in a town called Williamston, NC.
We got a room at a Hampton Inn. We had tried to get a room at a Comfort Inn through a web site called hotels.com.
Once the guy on the phone found out that we were in the path of a hurricane, he told Veronica that she would have to pre-pay for the room, which we wanted to book for 3 nights...just in case we can't get back because of the storms aftermath.
Veronica questioned this guy because she has never had to pre-pay for a room. This guy tried to use scare tactics on her as far as the hurricane was concerned.
Veronica did not go for it and she ended hanging up on the chump.
I really hate it when people try to take advantage of others when there disasters or major events lurking. Anything to make the almighty buck.
She ended getting us a room at Hampton Inn, in the same town, for a reasonable price and we did not have to pre-pay either.
Williamston is East of us....about 100 miles...almost a 2 hour drive.
That should take us far enough away that we will be safe and sound.
Just to be on the safe side, we will also be packing the car up with all of our luggage for our upcoming cruise.
We don't head to Norfolk until Monday afternoon but with a hurricane, you just never can tell what can happen or how much damage there could be around here. Once we have to evacuate, it might be a while until we can return. There is just no telling so we figured that we would error on the side of caution.
Well that is about the latest information that we have.
I am sure there will be more info to follow.
Needless to say, the last 2 days have been doozies!!!

Lots Of Sticks In The Fire

Today we have been super busy.
I had a doctors appointment first this morning. It was official weigh in day.
The magic number for today's weigh in is....wait for it.............175 pounds.
This is the lowest I have been for at least 12 years, probably more. I would like to drop 3 more pounds but not sure if it will happen.
Hurricane Earl is still approaching and it is still too early to know if it will fully hit us, give us a glancing blow or mainly stay off the coast.
No matter what it does, I am sure we will feel some of its fury since it is not a category 4 hurricane.
Veronica and I had to pack up some items in case of a mandatory evacuation. If we have an evacuation, it will be a grab and go situation so we wanted to have some stuff prepared.
We will have both cars fully gassed up too.
This storm has been the talk of the town around here.
We should have a better idea on what to expect within the next 24 hours. We might not truly know until the last minute.
Veronica and I also had to repack our suitcases and whittle down a few things. We originally had 4 suitcases but they want an arm and leg for baggage fees nowadays.
So what we decided to do was to get everything into 3 suitcases.
In one of the suitcases we put a smaller suitcase and packed stuff it that one and around it.
That will save us some money on the fees at least on the 2 flights heading to London.
On the return trip, we will have 4 suitcases, using the one that was packed in the other.
We can use that suitcase for souvenirs and whatever else we decide to purchase.
I set up a couple of additional doctors appointments for after we return home. The big one will be on 9/30 with my Oncologist.
I had a great Oncologist when we lived in Virginia Beach but because the drive to see him would be problematic, I changed to one that is close by us here on the Outer Banks.
This Oncologist is part of the same Oncology group as my other one.
The only bad thing about him is that he is only in his Kitty Hawk office on Thursdays.
He will be my main man to guide me through whatever journey that might lay in front of me.
I am sure that with the upcoming storm, I will have some exciting things to write about but if for some reason you don't read any new entries in the next couple of days, it will be because we either lost electricity or internet access or both.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Gearing Up For Possibly My Biggest Battle Yet

My whole life seems to have been one battle after another.
Since the day I was born, I have battled to have a voice....to be heard by others.
I have had a life long battle to figure out who I am as a person.
I have battled to keep many demons securely stashed away in that proverbial closet.
I feel that I have had to battle to earn and get my parents love.
These are just the tip of the "battle iceburg".
I have lost more battles in my life than I have won.
I refuse to lose this latest possible battle.
With that being said.....
As previously mentioned in one of my blog entries, I have been having some problems with my upper right leg and my right hip.
It has caused me some discomfort during my walks...been taking some medication for it, stretching and wrapping it before doing my workout.
I originally thought it was a hip flexor issue.
A couple weeks back, we returned to Virginia Beach to run some errands.
One of those errands was going to our family doctor that we still use back there.
After explaining what I was experiencing with leg and hip, my doctor gave me a script to get my right hip x-rayed. He thought that it might be a hip flexor issue or arthritis in my hip.
So I got my hip x-rayed here locally.
The results of the x-ray were to be sent to my doctor.
My doctors office and I had been playing telephone tag over the last week or so.
I decided that I would call his office again to see if they could give me the results of the x-ray.
The doctor himself called me a while later.
After some small talk, he told me that the x-ray came back as being "abnormal".
I figured that he meant that I had arthritis in my hip joint.
I then asked him what he meant by "abnormal".
I vaguely remember him saying something about spots on the bones of my hip and upper right leg.
There was also some mention about the possibility of bone cancer or something called Paget's disease.
Here is more info on Paget's disease.
The doctor told me that this Paget's disease was usually for in people 20 years older than me and not usually in someone in my age bracket.
I asked the doctor if it could be part of my Mast Cell Disease showing up on the x-ray.
He said that was a good question but did not know the answer to it.
After being given this news, I thought to myself...there is no way that this could be happening...I have been working my ass off to get into shape....lost 25 pounds...walk 7 miles a day and average 15-20 miles on my recumbent bike daily. Just the day before yesterday, I set a personal record and rode my bike for 32 miles and did my 7 mile walks to boot.
Other than a "hitch in my giddy up", I feel fine.
Probably the best shape that I have been in, in 12-15 years or so.
I have seen my x-rays before and I have never seen any spots on my bones before. The Mast Cell mainly made my bones appear to be somewhat washed out.
The Radiologist that read my x-rays strongly suggested that I get someone to check this issue out a lot closer and my doctor verbalized a sense of urgency in getting it checked out further.
I already had an appointment set up on 11/18, with my Mast Cell doctor but I called up and had the appointment scheduled for sooner...9/30.
With our travels plans, this was the earliest that I could get an appointment.
Of course I am hoping that the Radiologist made a mistake reading the x-ray or maybe  he isn't familiar with what bones look like that have Mast Cell issues.
But no matter how this plays out, I will not lose this battle.
I have too many things that I want to do, to see...many more years spent with my best friend and wife Veronica.
Like I said earlier, this is one battle that I refuse to lose...won't be happening...not on "my watch".

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Hoping To Dodge A Bullet Or Should I Say A Hurricane

Veronica and I leave home on Monday afternoon, at which time we will head into Norfolk, VA and stay at a hotel.
We fly out of Norfolk early on Tuesday morning heading to Newark, NJ.
We will hang around at the airport in Newark until about 9PM Tuesday night. We will be boarding our Virgin Atlantic jet for our over night flight to London England.
Now this is how everything was and currently is planned out to occur.
There might be a slight problem with these plans.
It seems that mother nature might have some plans of her own.
It appears that what once was tropical storm Earl, is now Hurricane Earl...a category 1 hurricane.
Based on early projections, Earl should be in our general area around Thursday or Friday of this upcoming week.
The best case scenario is that this hurricane veers North and then Northeast thus taking it away from the Eastern coast.
No matter where it lands, hopefully it will be a minimal hurricane and that it will be a fast moving storm.
That way we can keep our plans intact. We should have a better idea about what is going to happen with this hurricane over the next couple of days.
Veronica and I will be keeping our fingers crossed and hoping that our vacation goes as planned.

Friday, August 27, 2010

What A Difference 2 Weeks Make

Approximately 2 weeks ago I went to our bank and obtained currency for our upcoming cruise.
I got Euros and currency for 4 other individual countries.
Last night Veronica wanted to check out the rates of the currencies that she had.
As it turns out, in the 2 weeks since the currencies were purchased using US funds, the US dollar has dropped in all of those countries.
Veronica figured out that it would cost $80 USD more to obtain the same amount of foreign currency that she currently has, compared to what it cost when originally purchased.
Probably a good thing we got the currency when we did.
The only way that we would actually lose anything is if we have money left over from our trip and we take it to the bank and convert it back into USD.
Of course by then, the USD might have rebounded a bit and our loss would be minimal.
With the way our economy is heading, I wouldn't anticipate any type of rebound.
Of course anything can happen in the 11 days leading up to our departure.
But then again...if we spend all of the foreign currency buying all kind of goodies, it won't matter what the currency conversion rate is.
Hmmmm...now that just might be the ticket!!!!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Barney And Weight Loss Update

While riding my recumbent bike yesterday in the garage, I had a visitor.
One of Barneys owners, Jane, stopped by to talk to me about Barney biting me and to see how I was doing.
Jane was very apologetic and offered to pay whatever medical bills that there might be associated to Barney biting me.
Jane told me that Barney was in quarantine for 10 days and that if/when they decide to take Barney for a walk through our neighborhood, they would have him on a leash.
As long as the other end of Barneys leash is attached to one of the owners hand, I am all for this.
I really appreciated Jane stopping by.
On the health front...I am still having problems with my hip and hip flexor area.
I keep working and walking through the pain daily.
I have actually upped my walking and recumbent bicycle distances.
I do a 5 mile walk in the morning followed by an 8-11 mile bike ride. Then in the afternoon, I do another 2 mile walk followed by a 4 mile bike ride.
There have been some days where I get lost in the music that I am listening to and wind up doing a total of 25 miles on the bike.
This has happened a couple of times and let me tell you, I am usually dripping with sweat and really tired out by the time I am finished.
All of my hard work has finally paid off and has put me in the area of my original goals for weight.
I have been to 2 different doctors offices and weighed myself in each. Both weigh ins had me around the 177.5 pound range.
Now that I have reached my original goals, I am thinking about trying for 5 more pounds.
Not sure if I will attain that goal but at least I will work towards it.
We had some rain off and on today, so I took the day completely off and gave my body a break from any and all workouts.
I actually treated myself to a cup of coffee this morning...something I almost never do during the heat of the Summer.
Tomorrow I will get back in the swing of things and start in earnest towards my new goal.
So far...27 pounds have been lost.
Yay me!!!!!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Damn That Barney

No I am not speaking of that purple beast that all of the prepubescent masses flock to, because they think that he is just sooo darn cute.
I am speaking of a totally different Barney entirely.
I first met Barney about a month after we first moved here.
I met him while we were both going for our respective walks....me with my ipod and Barney with his owners.
Barney is a chocolate Lab but I think he also has a bit of the Cujo gene running through him.
I really like dogs...some more than others. Those yappers and ankle biters aren't really my type, but I have never met a Lab that I did not like...until now.
When I first met Barney, I tried to befriend him but he would have nothing to do with that.
Every time Barney saw me walking, he would charge directly at me, growling and then right at the last minute he would kind of run by me and take a mouthy swipe at my arm or hand baring his teeth...just another canine bully.
I got to the point that when I saw Barney charging me, I would stop instantly and let him have his fun with me before I would proceed on with my walk.
Every time Barney would charge me, it brought back memories from years ago, when I got jumped by 2 German Sheperds while delivering newspapers with my brother. One of those dogs latched onto my hiney.
I think that Barney sensed my anxiety when I was around him and he rejoiced in the opportunity to mess with me.
The bottom line is that Barney has my number and he knows it.
Please keep in mind that Barney was always with his owners but never put on a leash during his walks, even after he had charged me and tried to nip me on several occasions.
Well today turned out to be Barneys lucky day.
Barney was out for a walk with his female owner.
During our first encounter he did his usual charging and mouthy swipe at me before he happily continued on with his walk.
Our second encounter was a little different.
Barney was about 30-40 feet away from me with his master about 10 feet behind him.
They were walking in my direction.
I heard Barneys female owner tell him "don't even think about it".
I am sure that Barney is a relatively smart dog but for the life of me, I can't imagine any dog understanding that type of doggy command. Maybe it is something new that they are teaching dogs in their obedience school. I really do need to get out more so that I would know these types of things.
It was at this time that the Cujo gene that runs in Barneys family, kicked in and he charged me.
This time was different though.
Barney actually got a hold of my arm and started to clamp down. I could feel the power in this dogs jaw. For some reason Barney decided to let go.
Barneys owner asked me if I was ok. I told her yes in a really pissed of fashion. I wasn't about to get into a long winded discussion with this lady for fear of Barney returning to my arm to finish of his mid morning snack.
I kept on walking and once Barney and his owner were out of sight, I stopped to look at my arm to see if there was any damage.
There were 2 small puncture wounds that broke the skin and I was bleeding a little bit from one of the wounds.
To make a long story just a bit shorter...I ended up calling Animal Control and had an officer come out to take a report from me.
I took a couple of my own photos of my wounds and the officer also took a couple.
I gave the officer all of the info that I had about Barney and the owners.
I did not have that much info on them and what info I did have, I got from a neighbor that also had a run in with Barney and his owners last night, while this neighbor was walking his dog...on a leash I might add.
About an hour after speaking to the Animal Control Officer, I had a message left on our answering machine that stated that the officer had located both Barney and the owners.
They live in a different neighborhood and go through our neighborhood for the sake of walking Barney...without a leash...did I mention that earlier?
Well, let me mention it again. Even after the owners knew that Barney had charged me and tried to bite me on several earlier occasions, they still did not feel that Barney needed to be on a leash and under their complete control when walking through our neighborhood.
As it turned out, the owners were talked to about the situation, it was suggested to them to leash their dog on its walks and that Barney was given 10 days in a doggy time out corner. Actually the official term would be that Barney was under quarantine at the owners house for 10 days and could only go out to use the bathroom in the owners fenced in back yard. Hopefully the owners will comply with the quarantine. But if they don't and Barney is out and about before the 10 day period is complete, a quick phone call to Animal Control will be in order
Luckily Barney rabies shots were all up to date.
It will be interesting to see if the owners make any changes when they return to our neighborhood to walk Barney. Hopefully they will bypass our neighborhood completely.
As for me, I cleaned the 2 small wounds completely, applied some antibiotic ointment and bandaged the area.
On a lighter note, Veronica and I packed up 99% of our items into the luggage that we will be taking on our cruise.
This is the earliest that we have ever packed our things up for any trip.
Only 17 days before we head out on our next adventure.

Monday, August 16, 2010

An Unexpected Bill Comes Knocking At Our Door

We got an unpleasant surprise this morning. Veronica went out the door to head to work. The next thing I know she is back inside telling me that the car would not start.
So I go outside and tried to get it started.
The only thing that I could muster out of the thing was a constant clicking sound.I had Veronica get in the car, put it in neutral while I pushed the darn thing out of our carport/garage area.
I am not sure who got the worse end of getting the RAV moved.
Veronica had no power steering nor any brakes while she was trying to maneuver the vehicle to a safe area and I had to push it around.
Luckily, neither one of us injured ourselves getting the vehicle where it needed to go.
To be quite honest.....while pushing the vehicle, I was waiting to hear that familiar "pop" that usually occurs when my back goes out.
Thankfully that did not happen. Especially this close to our vacation happening.
I ended up getting a AAA tow truck service to come fetch the vehicle. Only cost us $6 to tow it about 7 miles or so.
Just got a call from the local AAA approved automobile service center.
As it turns out, the alternator went out on the vehicle. This would be the 2nd time we have had to replace the alternator on this RAV.
The mechanic told me that the heat really wreaks havoc on the electrical system of these vehicles.
I figured that while the vehicle was in the shop, I would go ahead and get some other maintenance done.
We were planning on getting the maintenance done after we returned from our vacation but this was as good a time as any, especially since the vehicle was already there in the shop.
The estimate for the new alternator and all of the other maintenance that I wanted done came to just North of $500.00
I really can't complain too much.....well actually I guess that I could but who would listen.
Our 2000 Toyota RAV4 is paid off and only has approximately 62,000 miles on it.
With proper maintenance and a little luck, this vehicle will last us for quite some time  in the future.
I am hoping that this will be the last unexpected bill to show up between now and the start of our vacation.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

General Update

I have not been blogging much lately, as you can tell by the rather large gaps in time between posting dates.
There really has not been much going on lately.
I went to my doctors appointment and got great news on all of my blood work. All of the numbers were where they were supposed to be.
My T level was up on the high normal side so we are tweaking the amount of Androgel that I use daily.
My weight was where it had been on my last visit. No new loss...that was somewhat depressing but I got some new medication that should help with taking those last 8-10 pounds off.
I had previously mentioned that I was having problems with my upper right leg.
It seems that I strained my hip flexor muscles.
I was given some stretching exercises and told to ice the area down...no heat, which is what I had been using all along.
The problem still lingers on but hopefully it will get better as time goes by.
Today I had a great workout.
I did 5 miles this morning and then did 4 miles on my recumbent bicycle.
I took a brief break and then did another 11 miles on the bike.
I just got back from walking another 2 miles...making it 7 for the day and I will do another 4 miles on the bike, making that 15 for the day.
Not bad for an old geezer.
We are down to about 27 days until we leave for our next adventure...the Baltic Capitals cruise on the NCL Sun.
Veronica and I packed up 1 suitcase so far. We still have several more to go.
Won't be long now.
  

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

My Darlings Birthday

Today is Veronica's birthday. She turns 50 today. I know that it is a tough one for her but honey....the best is yet to come!
If you get a chance, please visit her blog and wish her a Happy Birthday.....
D-Vine By D-Zine Art Studio
As for me...Happy Birthday darling!!! I love you more as each day passes!!!
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