Friday, May 29, 2009
I got to the ER to find Dad waiting on a hospital bed. He was asking to talk to his cousin Pauline. This had me concerned because she had died years ago. I didn't stay long as I had to get to work. The next morning, I found him in a room on the 5th floor. I stayed a while then headed home and to bed. His doctor called me later that day and stated Dad needed to have the fluid removed from his lung. She stated his left lung had collapsed. The next day they removed the fluid. Since this was Friday, I waited until Monday to ask for the results. Nobody called me Monday or Tuesday. Wednesday the specialist called me to say Dad's lung was full of fluid again and they suspected cancer. Shock. Horror. My mind spun back 40 years ago when I was little and Dad smoked. My mind said no, it couldn't be cancer. In the mean time, each visit with Dad had him talking about stuff that happened 20 or more years ago. I made up my mind to go down to the hospital, Thursday morning April 30th. I made it home from work and bathed. While getting dressed, the Social worker assigned to Dad called and asked to meet with me. I told him I was on my way to find out about Dad's treatment. I got to Dad's room to find him eating lunch and really enjoying it. The Social worker arrived and we went to the end of the hall to talk and be comfortable. He told me his job in Dad's treatment and I told him my concerns about finding out if Dad did, if fact, have cancer. He had me wait and he came back to state if I could wait until 12:30, the Medical Director would answer all my questions.
While I was waiting for the Medical Director, Dad asked to sit up in the recliner. While he sitting there, I was dozing on and off.
Today is Sunday, August 21, 2011. I have tried to finish this post numerous times, but just couldn't find the wantto, to finish it.
While I was waiting for the Medical Director, Dad asked to sit up in the recliner. While he was sitting there, I was dozing on and off. He told me he wanted to get back in bed. I went out and told the nurse, then returned to that comfy chair. Dad made some unnatural movements and I hollered for the nurse. Dad was twitching uncontrollably . I felt ill in the stomach. Three nurses came in to move Dad back to the bed. I left the room out of respect for Dad's and he being in one of those flimsy hospital gowns. I went to the end of the hall with all the windows and sat down, just staring out. After a minute or two the Social Worker came out to make sure I was alright. A few moments after that the Medical Director came out and told me in a calm voice that Dad had just died. His heart just up and stopped at 1:07. What I had seen was the heart pace maker trying to jump start his heart. Thank the Lord, I was there by Dad when he died. He didn't die alone. The date was April 30, 2009. Exactly 161 days after Mom died. About 5 & 1/2 months. So the saying is true about the longer you live together with someone, the closer you die to the date of their death.
Stop back here later and I will have some more time caught up.
Monday, April 20, 2009
The phone line cost $147 to repair. Then I found out my neighbor had environmental splices and could have done it for free. Oh well. I finally got feed up with all my rain water just running past the pond. I took the time one morning after work to make a diversion levee with my 6520. I made it by dumping a bucket load of clay every 7 feet. Then I packed it down. This runs about 100 feet from up in the woods down to the pond on an angle. It catches that wet weather spring and most of the rain run off behind the house. Now I need to spread topsoil on it and it will be part of the yard. Right now it looks rough and red. It also runs under my truck's parking space. So when I park the right rear tire is up higher than the rest.The pond is now full, but I want to close off the end of the overflow pipe and cut out the top to raise the water level about 12 inches. I uploaded some nice photos of the pond filling up from our April showers. You can view them here. Stop back later to see what is different with the pond.
Saturday, April 4, 2009
I took the Big RED Beast and my zero turn mower over to Dad's house. Christina and I spent two full days just cleaning the front and back yard enough to mow. My adopted brother and his wife, along with his girlfriend had turned the yard and house into a junk yard.Literally, it was all white trash. I dug two 11 foot deep holes with my backhoe to dump the trash in. I still need to dig one more hole as I haven't started cleaning up Dad's workshop and sheds. The yard beside the sheds is also a white trash jungle. So I will need to bring my Mahindra back at least one more time. All the neighbors are very happy that my brother is out and the place is looking respectable again.
While I have been over working at Dad's house, I have been carrying my Kimber 45 on my hip concealed under a jacket or shirt. Last week I got my Ruger LCP back from Ruger because of a technical glitch. So I carried it in my pocket instead of the big Kimber on my hip. Getting on and off the 6520 all day and doing physical labor had the big Kimber's paddle holster digging into my waist. So I was relieved when the Ruger came back home. I also have my cell phone on my belt and my bluetooth headset in. All this because I don't trust my brother and will not be a victim again. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.
While burning tree limbs and old firewood at Dad's last Saturday, I got a call from Rebecca. She said she was coming home for the weekend to pick up Sammy, her cat.
Rebecca had a job interview with Travis County Health Department, over in Austin, last week. It really looked promising for her to get the position. She found out Monday that Travis County just instituted a hiring freeze. So she continues to look for a job that she can turn into a career. She hasn't worked since working 6 days for the state before she went into the hospital last January. I pray she gets hired soon as I am fronting her bills (minus her rent) until she gets on her feet. That is putting me under each month. So far I have juggled everything around to get everything paid.
I will have to break down and work overtime soon. I hate to do this right now as Dad's place needs more attention to sell it,..........and my place has several big projects for the Big RED Beast. The most urgent project is place the spoils from digging the pond in berms across my property to direct rain run off into the pond. The next big project is to move the remainder of the spoils pile and the top soil pile to the back of the property to fill in low spots. I need to have this done before I buy more Bermuda grass seed. This weekend we are forecast to have major rain storms come through. So this weekend is ruined for any dirt work. Instead I will be troubleshooting why my Hustler Fastrac is not starting without a full charge on the battery. I thought, after 4 years, that the battery may be bad. So I took it to O'reilly Auto Supply to have the battery tested. They said the battery is good. So now I will have to trouble shoot all the safety switches on the mower. Since it is a zero turn mower, it has two neutral switches. The local Hustler mechanic also told me that the starting circuit also includes the PTO switch. So along with these three switches and the ignition switch, I will have to figure out which switch out of 4 is intermittent. So it will be a fun day in the barn while it storms!
I have mowed my place twice this spring. Now the local Red Tailed Hawks are hunting the crawfish that live in the low wet spot on the property.
Thursday, March 19, 2009
Two weeks ago, we went to the Austin Rodeo with Rebecca. Randy Travis was in concert after the Rodeo. It was my first time to make the rodeo in Austin. It is a little smaller than Rodeo Houston. We had a fun time and really laughed hard when the four and six year old kids rode the sheep. It is called Mutton Busting and it is a hoot to watch those little kids hold onto the sheep's wool and try to hang on. One little boy hung on so long, one of the clowns had to grab his belt to pull him off. The kid was still holding on with his hands as the clown was pulling him off!
We did have fun climbing on the road grader that was displayed there. This grader was so big, it pivots in the middle. We didn't find much in exhibits but we did find the monster truck.
We took a few photos of it and moved along. Since this was a Sunday evening after the rodeo, most of the folks had left. We found a tepee erected on the site, along with some Longhorn cattle. Not much of anything else. Nobody was at the Dodge truck display and all the vehicles were locked. Oh well, I didn't want a new truck anyway!
The next day I testified on behalf of HB1301 in the Texas Legislature. Alice Tripp with the Texas State Rifle Association invited me to come and share my testimony with the Texas House Public Safety Committee. Representative Stephen Frost authored the bill. It is my second time to testify for this legislation. Two years ago, I testified before the Senate Committee for its version of the same bill. This year it seemed we had more folks testifying for the bill then against the bill. The Senate bill has already past in the Senate and has moved on to the House of Representatives. The surprise of the day was that Rebecca showed up and waited with Christina and I for me to testify. I had my own cheering section! I always enjoy being in the State Capital and I always get turned around. Rebecca helped me find our way out. We had a long day there as the Committee hearings didn't start until 3:30. We had been there since before 1. I finally got to testify around 8:30 that night.
The following weekend we found ourselves again at Reliant Stadium to see Rodeo Houston again and hear Taylor Swift. We had a little time before the rodeo and we found the Ag Mechanics contestant's projects. There were so many project entries to see, we missed the Grand Entry to the rodeo. After the rodeo we came back and finished out look see at the projects. There were a lot of neat ideas turned into projects for front gates and entrances to ranches. But what really got my attention was the vintage green machines, the old John Deere tractors. There was an old JD crawler there. I think it was a 1948 model. But what took my breath away was one like my Grandpa had, a D Model John Deere. First I heard it, then I saw it. It was just going..."pop, pop, pop,pop". A real Poppin' Johnny.
Grandpa's didn't have spoke wheels. So I think his was a few years younger than the '48 model we saw. Even as I love the Big RED Beast and Mahindras, the old D models like this one gets me warm inside when I see them. Seeing them gives me a chance to remember my Grandparents and the simple life they lived.
In between all these rodeos and testifying, I had time to install the pond's overflow pipe. I cut a 2 foot wide trench with the Big RED Beast from the stake I had at pond elevation and across the driveway. I tried to keep the trench on an even downward slope, but the final installation with dirt and driveway fill over it gives a slight roller coaster like wave. It goes up and down somewhat, but still keeps the downward slope needed to drain. You can just see the black overflow pipe behind and a little under the pier framework in the photo.
Last weekend we loaded the lawn mower and the 6520 on my goose neck trailer. We had to go clean up Dad's house and yards after finally having my brother evicted. I dug a large hole in the front yard on Saturday and another one on Sunday to bury all the trash that we couldn't burn. I was lucky in that Dad's front yard is loamy sand. The 511 backhoe dug the holes in record time. I was burning a lot of different stuff on Saturday and I guess I got out of hand as I threw an old water hose and a love seat on the fire. A little later we had a visit from a 4WD red truck. Yep, a fire truck pumper came out to put the fire out. I was told not to burn couches and stuff like that as it is illegal unless you live on 5 acres or more. I told the fireman I didn't know that and would take the rest of the big burnable stuff to my place to burn. He didn't call the fire marshall, so I didn't get a ticket. After they watered down my fire, I used the Mahinrda's front loader bucket to scoop up the remains and dumped it in the hole I had dug. The house needs a through cleaning, but at least it has curb appeal now. I have a cash offer on the house already, so I pray it will come through and I can sale it.
Stop back in later to see what else I get into. Check out the few photos I uploaded here.
Monday, March 2, 2009
The day after we covered the water pipe, we headed to Petco in Humble. I had tracked down a white female ferret there by visiting 3 other Petco stores and getting one store to call Humble's store. We lucked out, as they had 5 ferrets. All of them small like my Phoebe and Sneaky. I picked up the white female and held her. She didn't bite. I said I wanted her. I then had second thoughts about buying a new playmate for Buttons. He had been not playing well alone since Phoebe was put to sleep. I then decided my new little female needed her brother to join her. I held my breath and said I would take the silver and white male also. I held him again and he didn't bite any fingers. Good to know, as one of their brothers did bite and bit hard. At first I name the female, Shadow. As in Phoebe's shadow. As it turned out she was my shadow. I named the male, Dusty. As I learned more about my two new fuzzies over the next two days, I realized these names didn't fit them. So I decided to call my female, Baby Girl. I named the male, Bear, as he acted like a little bear. As it turns out, Bear likes to play in the water dish like a bear does when he is trying to catch Salmon. He really splashes the water out of the bowl!
Sunday, February 22, 2009
The pond's water level is somewhere over 5 feet now. The increase of water into the pond has slowed to almost zero. We have added some cinder blocks in the shallow end for habitat for the smaller fish. I used the Mahindra's backhoe to level a small area to stack them two blocks high. We were planning on strapping these together and sinking them in the deep end. But pricing the tool to strap them here at home had me change my mind. Instead, I have located an old cess pool tank to sink in the deep end. I hope to pick this tank up next weekend. It is about 3 foot in diameter and about 4 feet deep. It has two holes about 6 inches in diameter in the sides. It should work as fish habitat. It will not snag lines and lures like the big oak stump would
We got the posts for the deck set in concrete in the dam and the frame of the deck in. I have mixed emotions on the placement of the deck. The shore side of it overhangs the bulkhead we built to keep the dam away from the cedar tree and our pet graves. I am not concerned over the deck keeping more rain away from the tree, but just the look of it so far seems off. I mean the bulkhead is half an octagon and the deck overhang is just a straight 2x6. So it looks a little odd to me.
The Rye grass is growing well and soon it will be time for mowing it all. It will be a fun learning to mow the curves around the dam with my zero turn Hustler lawnmower. I have been thinking about buying some St. Augustine grass sod to line the upper end of the pond's shore. Since this area really is my back yard, I am thinking it might be better than Bermuda grass there. I still have not figured out how to plant Bermuda grass on the dam without discing the dam. I am thinking of trying dragging some cyclone feet about 6 feet behind my lawnmower after spreading Bermuda grass seed. If that doesn't work, then I will have to buy a harrow to drag behind the lawnmower. Too bad I don't have a smaller Mahindra with disc for landscaping use. That would work for the Bermuda grass planting on the dam.
The Big RED Beast is coming up on her Second birthday with me. I can not believe I have had her two years. It seems like only yesterday I picked up the keys from Travis! I have racked up 425.5 hours on her now. I look forward to each time I get on her. I am always trying to think up new uses for her.
Speaking of Travis, I was shocked to find out he is leaving Top Flight Equipment. He is leaving with their service manager, two parts counter guys, and their small engine mechanic. They will be opening a lawnmower and chain saw outlet in Conroe. Their new company will be called Outdoor Equipment Outlet. This is all a shock to me. I have been dealing with Top Flight and Travis for over 12 years. Travis has sold me my Stihl chainsaw, my Hustler Fastrac lawnmower and of course the Big RED Beast. I can't fathom going to Top Flight without talking to Travis. I will miss him.
Christina and I made the Saxet Gun Show at the Lone Star Convention Center in Conroe today. I was looking for Ruger Mini 14s and Remington R10s. Christina was checking out all the pistols and revolvers as she wants to get one of her own. We did stumble across a Taurus Judge Ultra Lite. It is really lite and fires a 45 Colt and 2 & 1/2 inch .410 shells. Definitely a home defense revolver. Yesterday at sundown, I sat up a firing lane behind the pond's clay pile. I wanted Christina to see the difference between my .45 and .380. She fired 6 shots through my Ruger LCP and the magazine release button fell out! These six rounds were the first fired in the gun since Ruger returned it to me for a hammer safety recall. I am really at a loss of words over this. I mean, what if my life depended on me firing 2 shots and the magazine fell out after one shot? I sure hope Ruger fixes this for me!
Rebecca will leave her Maw maw's house tomorrow to come pick up her truck. I had it here to get the right side mirror replaced, as Rebecca had backed into a pole and broken it. A portion of the powered mirror mount had broken with the mirror. My local garage tried to repair it and told me a replacement assembly cost around $500. I told them I had priced a heated, powered, mirror assembly from the local Dodge dealer for $189, $204 with tax. Ya gotta remember the tax! I paid the Dodge dealer for it the next morning and delivered it to the garage. They installed it for $86. Along with a state inspection, the bill came to $125 dollars. That is a lot for a broken mirror and an inspection. When I picked up the truck last week, I told the service manager I had priced pairs of mirrors for around $500 and I bet that is the price that was quoted to him. Oh how I am looking forward to seeing Rebecca again. I will be asleep, but the interruption is worth it.
So anyway, I added more photos of work on the pond. You can check them out here. I hope to hear from y'all about what is going on it your lives. Stop back later to check out what Booger, the Big RED Beast, and I are doing.
Friday, February 6, 2009
Monday, January 19, 2009
I posted photos of the water hose level on http://www.nettractortalk.com/. A bunch of online friends stated the water hose level is a low cost way to find elevations of the pond. Erik, from Kansas asked if I wanted to use his laser level. He sent me a private message to ask for my address. He sent it prepaid by UPS. I tried it out this morning, when I got home from work, but the sun was way to bright. So I went to bed and after spreading topsoil around the pond this afternoon, I got the laser out and started playing with it and learning how to utilize it. I found the max waterline level to the gully (130 feet away) is right at 10 feet difference in elevation. So I now know I can drain the whole pond, if I want to buy and bury 130 feet of pipe. I was planning on a 6 inch drain, but with all the cost of pipe, it may have to be 4 inch pipe. The generous loaning of this laser level is one reason I like the tractor community so much. People bend over backwards to be friendly and lend a hand. Genuine friendliness, going beyond words of encouragement to help out in one way or another. It doesn't matter what color your tractor is either. You can tell you have their respect and attention when you post about some project you did and forget to include photos. That is when someone speaks out by posting...."This Thread Is Totally Worthless Without Pictures".
I went back to work after a week and a half of digging and working on my pond. It has been right at a month since I started my pond. In that one month our area is already behind in rainfall over 3 inches. I know the Lord is holding the rain until I get rye grass seed out and maybe until I get all the piping and valve in. But the first night back at work had me worried. I had been talking with Rebecca that morning. I was worried because she kept repeating herself and talking non stop. She was in the early stages of another bi-polar episode. The last one was way back in 2003 when she was in the first week of her freshman year at the University of Texas. Bless her heart, it caught us all unaware. As the reality set in, it devastated all of us. Luckily back then Rebecca was still on my health insurance. But now she is 23 years old and will hopefully be released from the hospital next week. She will be having weekly appointments with her Doctor that she has seen for the last five years. This Doctor's office visits are $140.00 each. So it looks like I will be forced to work some overtime. Which will cut into finishing the pond and getting seat time on my 6520.
So tomorrow, before I travel back to Austin to visit her, I plan on finish spreading the topsoil and packing it down, then spreading rye grass seed. I bought ten pounds of seed, so I should get enough grass growing to keep erosion in control until I can seed with Bermuda grass seed. We are forecast with rain for Sunday, so I pray it comes and helps the seed germinate. Wish me luck. No, say a few prayers for Rebecca. She will have a difficult time until she gets back on her own and not having one of us parents watching over her. It is very stressful for all of us in that respect. Pray for me that I will get tractor therapy when I need it. Stop back later to see how the grass grows here. Also, check out some of the new photos I uploaded here.
Tuesday, January 6, 2009
Sunday, December 28, 2008
As I dug the pond basin deeper, its narrow width shortcoming was really showing up in that the big Mahindra is a little long to be in that narrow basin curvature. So far I have been careful, but one turn of the wheel to far with a loader bucket full of clay in that curved basin and the ground could come up to meet me real fast. So we are off to a good start with a week of little rain and dodging a really big storm yesterday. Now I get to wait all week before continuing digging, piling, and packing. Check out the new photos I uploaded here. Stop back later to see where the pond spillway goes. Oh yeah...Happy New Year!
Wednesday, December 3, 2008
It was the first time in the winter, Dad took us to the farm he was raised on, just outside of Higgins, Texas. We went every summer for vacation. But this was the first Christmas to spend with Grandpa Williams. Grandpa lived on the farm alone, as Grandma passed away in 1967. Funny thing about that Christmas - Santa left all his presents in the trunk of our car! My brother and I couldn't see what was in the trunk! Dad had called Grandpa a week or two before and told him the kids (my brother and I) needed a tree, as in Christmas tree. Now Grandpa wasn't up on latest fads or gimmicks. The fad back then was silver aluminum trees with a multi color disk spinning in front of a light. I guess this was the fore runner to a disco ball. Anyway, Grandpa did what farmers do best, he made do with what he had on hand. On hand was a yard full of juniper bushes my Grandma had planted years ago. Grandpa took a limb out of one and some how supported it enough to hang a dozen or so ornaments on it, along with a small string of lights. It looked like a Charlie Brown Christmas tree. We loved it.
We had been traveling half the day and night, as it was a 625 mile trip. Dad had to be at his work Christmas party at noon on Christmas Eve, so we left right after that. I will always remember the flat top hill in Oklahoma with the large lighted cross. It sure gets you thinking on a cold night seeing that cross way off in the distance. This is were I got the idea of a lighted cross on my barn. Yes, we were in Texas and traveling to the farm in Texas. But Texas is just so huge and shaped with a pan handle, it is faster to cut across Oklahoma! We often traveled at night during the summer to avoid the heat, but that night we had blankets in the backseat of our '66 Mercury Parklane to snuggle with. When we got to Grandpa's farm, we were only allowed a peak at the tree limb Grandpa had lighted up. Then we were rushed off to bed in the north bedroom. That old farm house was so uninsulated, Mom stuffed towels around the window frame to keep the draft off of my brother and I as we slept on a mattress on the floor. We usually slept in the middle of three bedrooms, but Mom didn't want us sneaking peaks of Santa! We were in the same room with Mom and Dad that night. Mom got us to bed and Dad, well....I really don't remember were Dad was when Mom was trying to get us to sleep! I got my first shotgun that year. A Savage .410 single shot. It could be broke down into 3 parts in half a minute. Two days after Christmas it snowed. We were not snowed in, but the roads down in Dallas were ice, so we got to stay two days longer. For the first time, I got to go quail hunting with my very own shotgun! But this hunt was extra special as we hunted in the snow. Uncle Woody had hunting dogs, but for that cold snowy day, the dogs stayed at the farm house. I will never forget hunting the creek bottom, watching for distinctive quail tracks in the snow. I don't remember us shooting anything worth eating that day, but it was the best hunting day I ever had.
Sunday, November 30, 2008
When we got back home, I was just a zombie. I kept hearing Rebecca and Christina tell me to eat. Dad's church brought over a feast of food and deserts. I didn't know where to start.
Saturday, November 8, 2008
Thursday, October 30, 2008
While doing our shop class projects we had the view above from the sheetmetal shop. The plane in the photo is in for major overhaul and has it's vertical fin removed. It really is a strange sight, as one doesn't see this very often. The weather in Dallas was very crisp and the air was dry. Very low humidity caused my hair to carry a lot of static. I think my Mahindra tractor jacket contributed to the static as part of the jacket's lining is nylon. So I carried a brush and a bottle of hair spray to tame the stray hairs. Since the class was only 8 hours and my usual shift is 10 hours with about 2 and one half hours for travelling to and from, it really did seem like a vacation as the hotel is only 10 minutes away. I brought my PC with me and plugged into the hotel's ether net. Wow, talk about fast computer speeds! I really need to upgrade from my dial up modem.
Like last April, when I spent a week in Dallas for training, I brought a sinus cold home with me. The first few days in Dallas had winds up to 25 miles per hour. So yesterday I was lucky enough to see my doctor on a Saturday morning. Yes, Saturday morning. He gave me the usual prescriptions for pills and cough syrup, along with a steriod shot. He also talked me into getting a flu shot. I have never had a flu shot,but used to get the flu. Since I have been getting sinus colds and nasal infections, the flu has left me alone. So we will see how that goes. With the heavy acorn crop this year, it looks to be a hard winter here. Anyway, I have been couped up in the house for two days with a congested head and a runny nose. I got to feeling better this afternoon and ventured outside. I decided to plug the battery charger into the 6520. That is all I felt like doing. Sigh. It would have been a perfect weekend to burn my three large brush piles. But that will have to wait a few weeks longer. Next weekend we are headed to the Frio River and Leakey Texas to see Sara's daughter get married. It will be a nice trip as Leakey is in the Hill Country west of San Antonio and the weather is suppose to be great for a road trip.
Mom and Dad are hanging in there. I have not been able to see them since last Sunday, but I talked to them today and told them I didn't want to get them sick. So I will see them in a day or two and above all, I told them I love them. Check back in a week or so to see what all happens at the wedding. I uploaded a handful of photos here.