Archives for February 2010

This and That

I’ve been waiting for this week since the end of January, because I’m going to see the retina specialist on Friday.  I’m hoping he can do a PAM test on me.  No, it’s not part of the Aunt Jemima treatment, it stands for potential acuity meter.  It will let me, and, more importantly, my team of eye specialists know how much of the “current” vision loss is due to the cataract in my left eye.  I would hope it would come back 20/200 or better.  If not, it might be time to rent a gun and buy a bullet.  (Relax, I’m only joking.  I’m worth far too much dead to take my own life.)  Even without a PAM test, I’m hoping that Dr. Garg (retina) will give the okay for me to have Dr. Ayers (cornea) takeout the cataract.  As much as I’ve loved the snow this winter, I don’t want it to foul up my 8:45am appointment in Bala on Friday.  I see Dr. Ayers on 3 March and I’d like to schedule the cataract surgery then.  I’ve gotta do something, it seems like my vision is getting worse by the day.  My frustration level is extremely high.

On Wednesday, I’ve got an appointment with my GP.  It was postponed from 10 Feb due to the little bit of snow we had (not to mention the lack of power and heat too.)  When I saw Dr. Rist on 9 Dec, she told me to lose weight.  Since then I’ve eaten only about 1500 calories per day.  On days that I did some physical work like shovel snow, move our store inventory, etc., I would eat more calories as a reward.  As of this morning, I am down 41 pounds.  I’m interested to see what she says.

Jake is spending the week living at school, something he will have to do for his junior and senior years at Westtown.  We dropped him off on Sunday and will pick him up this Sunday.  He was really looking forward to it.  Then, when we got there, he noticed a Super Nintendo game system (circa 1991.)  The seniors whose room he and his friend are staying in left them a note saying that they could play with the system.  We have a couple of games from the video store that Jake has always wanted to play, but we never had the system (well, we had it, but upgraded to something else before he was born.)  I’m worried that school work might not be first on his mind this week.  Eliz picked him up some candy from BJ’s the other day.  You know, BJ’s doesn’t sell anything in small amounts.  She got him a variety bag of candy bars (not the fun size, the normal size) and a bag with god know how many packages of Skittles in it.  He posted today on Facebook that he was selling the candy.  Prices were $.50 for candy available in the school store and $1.00 for candy not carried in the school store.  I’m interested to see what he does with the funds, though his intentions could be philanthropic.

Jane found her letters from Tabitha tonight.  Tabitha was conjured up when Jake literally lost his first tooth.  It either fell out onto the ground or he swallowed it with his lunch that day at Granite Run Mall.  He was disappointed because he was so looking forward to putting it under his pillow for the toothfairy.  That night, after he went to bed, I wrote a letter from Tabitha, a toothfair from the North American office.  I expected it to be a one and done sort of thing, but when he lost his next tooth, we was just as excited to get another letter as he was to get the money.  And of course, if you do it for one, the other has to have it too…  Jane actually got a letter or two before she even lost a tooth.  She would sometimes leave notes for Tabitha under her pillow.  Jane laughs at the letters now, but she had fun reading them tonight.  She said each one had a little education, like Sesame Street.  I also would include things that I thought would boost their confidence and nudges on nutrition.  One day I’ll post them or publish them.

It is amazing how easy 700 words comes off my fingertips these days…  So much for a short update.  More later this week on the retina appointment.


Lots of Snow, No Power

It’s funny how excited I still get about snow.  This winter has been a dream come true.  I have always loved going out into the snow.  When I was a kid in the late 70’s and we had a couple of big storms (okay, big then, but not 2010 standards,) I’d have to shovel the driveway and some of the grass so our schnauzer named Schnappes could go out to play and do his business.

I would often shovel our elderly neighbor’s driveway first because of the “payment” I would receive.  Fresh-baked, homemade gingerbread men.  Wow were they good.  They were usually done by the time I finished shoveling our driveway.  One time, my dad came home early and noticed I had done the neighbor’s driveway first and asked why.  I told him because he couldn’t bake.

This last week has been great.  Two huge storms with plenty of snow.  Jake, Jane, and I started shoveling Saturday around noon (I had shoveled once on Friday night while Eliz was picking up Jake from school after he attended the school play Little Shop of Horrors.)  The three of us shoveled for about an hour and then Jane had to go inside to get ready for a Bar Mitzvah which she was attending at 5:00pm.  Jake and I continued shoveling so Eliz could get out and get Jane to her friends house to carpool to the service (thankfully the party was postponed until noon the next day.)  Jake and I cleared enough snow so Eliz and Jane could get out and had the whole driveway clean by the time Eliz was ready to pull in after returning from dropping Jane off and looking for a new shovel.

With yesterday’s storm, Jane and I went out to shovel.  I did most of the shoveling while Jane did some, but concentrated on building a snowman.  We were outside for a little more than an hour and had cleared a good portion of the area of the driveway by the garage doors and a path to the street.  I intended to go back out, but our power had gone out.  After resting for 10 minutes or so, Eliz said we should play a game.  The choices were Life, Monopoly, and Risk.  I am not a fan of Life and we thought Risk would’ve been too hard without power and little outside light due to the dark gray clouds and heavy snow coming down.  Monopoly it was!

We had fun playing for over an hour.  We stopped for a tea and hot chocolate break and as we started to play again, the power came back on.  We took a few minutes to power up the computers in the office and check for any sales on (we had some!)  We resumed playing around 4:00ish.  After another hour, Jake was broke.  He went and watched Ghostbusters that was playing on cable.  Eliz, Jane, and I played on.  Jane was just about broke, but then she landed on Free Parking, where we start off with $500 and then add all the fines and taxes to the pot.  She scored nearly $3000!  She was down to one monopoly, but now had cash.

At around 6:00pm, the power went out again.  We continued to play with flashlights and a candle providing us light.  Eliz took too many rides on the railroads (all owned by me) and was living it up in hotels on Boardwalk, Park Place, Oriental Avenue, and Pennsylvania Avenue (also owned by me,) so she went broke.  With Jane only having one monopoly, she wasn’t bringing in enough cash.  I believe a stop at my hotel on Boardwalk finished her off.  It was the longest I’ve ever played.  It was probably three to four hours long, not including breaks.  It was awesome.  Had the power not gone out, we probably wouldn’t have played (and even if we did, we definitely wouldn’t have played that long.)

Today we all went outside around 10:45am to clear the driveway.  The area we shoveled yesterday had about eight or nine inches on it and was much easier to shovel today since it was lighter.  The rest of the driveway, included the path to the street which was covered over and as high as the non-shoveled areas, wasn’t as easy.  Snow had drifted in some areas and yesterday’s snow was still heavy and much icier.  It was so tiring mainly because of piles of snow along the driveway that we had to throw the shovel-full of snow over were so tall.

While we shoveled, we joked around with one another and talked at times.  We finished off the driveway and the area in front of the mailbox (in time to get one check and a blizzard of bills today.)  We went inside to rest for a few minutes and decide on lunch.  We ended up at Five Guys in Lawrence Park.  Even the ride there was nice in the heated car.  The restaurant had the heat cranked and it felt great there too.

The power had come back on just before we left for lunch at 2:00pm (I had to open the garage door manually, but by the time Eliz backed out and I came in to close the door manually the power was on,) so when we returned, it was back to work.  It was nice to see we had a few more sales to acknowledge since the power had gone out.

All in all, it was a fantastic 24 hours.  Without the power, we spent more time together as a family.  We worked together to clear the driveway (even though Eliz shouldn’t have shoveled since she is still getting therapy for her arm.)  It felt good to be with the kids without them wanting to bolt for their computers or a video game and me not taking another call or updating the website.  I guess we probably wanted to do that, but we couldn’t.  No matter, I still enjoyed the time together.  I can’t wait for the next snow.


Seven Years Ago Today

Okay, technically it was seven years ago yesterday since it is past midnight.  What happened back then?  I had a trabeculectomy on my left eye.  It was my twelfth glaucoma operation and first since 20 May 1980.  Maybe I should have put off that surgery.  Since that trab in 2003, I have not seen better than 20/100 (and that was only for a span of about eight months.)  Before the surgery I was about 20/80.  A little better on some days and a little worse on others.  I was able to read the mail by myself.  Well, I wasn’t by myself.  Our dog Zamboni, would sit next to me while I went through it.

There were plenty of other things I could do then that I miss terribly now.  I still love sports, I just can’t participate anymore.  I used to go to about 30 Flyers games a season.  Even then I couldn’t see the puck, but I could follow the game and enjoyed going.  I’ve been to three since 28 January 2003.  That date was the last home game before my surgery.  It was the last game I “saw” (and it was a bad game — a 3-0 loss to Tampa Bay.)  I’ve been to two Phillies games at Citizens Bank Park, one this past season when they played Baltimore (and lost 6-5.)  A friend had two extra tickets and Jane wanted to go (it was her first Phils game, but her second O’s game.)  It was great seeing her get into the game and get excited, and I enjoyed spending time with my friend and his son.  As far as the game went, I pretended like I knew what was going on, but I didn’t.

My whole life was about trying to maintain my vision.  Glaucoma cannot be fixed or reversed.  I remember as a kid I used to ask my eye doctor if anything new had been developed that could improve my vision.  The answer then is the same as it is now: not yet.  Maybe some day.  On that day back in 2003, we tried.  It just didn’t work out the way we hoped.