Saturday, October 23, 2010

One part saint and two parts sinner, with the last part still on the line.

Sometimes I wonder, who, which or what higher power did I piss off? Sometimes I think I have an idea but then I wonder if the things I have done are really enough to constitute what I go through. I've done some horrible things in my life. Things that, not to sound to cliche will haunt me well past my grave. I've tried to make amends. I really have. There are, though some things that cannot be justified or amended. I've changed my life and let go of the person I was. I've tried to grow up and be the best man I can be. 

There are days when I feel like I might actually be making some headway and then there are those days where you take two steps forward and 99 steps back. Where I am going with this is kind of simple. I feel like giving up. I feel like I have lost my fight. There have been days sometimes even weeks where I felt down and feeling blue. But I always knew I'd come back strong given enough time. I don't feel that way anymore. 

Ever since I can remember life has put my soul through hell, but *I* put my physical body through equal punishment. For a long time I almost had myself convinced I was indestructible. I did what I wanted, when I wanted, and had the time of my life (sometimes). For a long time, I felt so dead inside from everything else that I craved the physical pain so that I could still know I was alive. And before any of you jump to conclusions, I was not a cutter or a burner, druggie or anything like that.  No matter how many bones I broke, gouges I took from flesh, shapes I contorted my body into..I walked away. Some days the pain took a little bit longer to go away, but I always, always walked away. Now, there are days I can barely walk without help. 

This past winter I underwent a knee surgery that has now been proclaimed by myself, physical therapist and surgeon as a failure. I went through 5 months of healing, physical therapy and strength training. The pain never totally went away but was to a level I thought manageable. Then I returned to work two months ago and I realized just how wrong I was. When I left work in February we were working 42 hour weeks. When I went back in July we were working 48 hour weeks. After the first day of 9.5 hours on my feet I realized I was in trouble and it has only gotten worse since. I cannot make it through a day without wearing my rigid support brace. It makes life miserable having 2.5lbs strapped to your leg for 12 hours a day but I have no choice. A few weeks into work my knee had a sharp snap followed by instant swelling and ungodly pain. I worked through it. 

It happened again two weeks ago and this one was even worse, putting me on the ground for 5-10 mins in the middle of the mill. I called the my surgeon back and he got me in on Tuesday of this week. I should have just kept my mouth shut. 

Upon a reasonably fast evaluation he came to a few conclusions. A) There is a grinding in my knee that wasn't there before. B)I have lost 10-15% of my mobility in 2 months (C I need to go to physical therapy again, as well as an MRI AND see another specialist then there is (D) <-- D gets double parenthesis cause its a doozy. (D) He is recommending to this new specialist to perform an extensive surgery on my knee yet again. This new surgery entails cutting my knee wide open, completely severing any ties to the knee cap, repositioning said knee cap and trying to reattach everything. And that is just what we know of now, he is reasonably certain there is some more damage that the MRI will show that will have to be fixed. 

He sent me to PT yesterday in the hopes that maybe we could do something that didn't involve the surgery. So I went to PT and within 30 seconds of my therapist looking at my knee she flat out said that she could not fix it. All she can do is POSSIBLY help the pain. So now. My sanity is hanging on the balance of this new specialist. 

I had a very very hard time coming to terms with having the first knee surgery. I spent almost half of this year out of work because of it and it was for nothing, actually it was for less than nothing because after taking several hundred measurements of my leg, my therapist says its off more now than it was before surgery. I don't know if I can go through this again. I don't know if my job will let me go through this again. If this surgery is as extensive as it sounds it could mean an even longer recovery time than the previous. The word disability has been thrown around quite a few times this week. To every single one of you have mentioned the idea. Fuck you. Most of you that have brought it up are the ones I have worked beside for years in one place or another. And every single fucking person that knows me knows all I have ever done since I and anyone else can remember is work my ass off. I have worked until I have literally worn holes through the skin on my fingers. Worked so many hours in a row that I honestly don't remember how I got home that night. I've shoveled shit, stocked shelves, sold guns, pumped gas, sawed and piled lumber and everything else in between. All I want to do is keeping do that. It is who I am.  I want to earn my living and go home at night knowing that I did it on my own and not on some one elses dime. 

I know in my heart of hearts that I have deserved every single thing that has happened to me over the years and I have done my absolute best to shoulder what has been handed to me and carry on. 

I also know in my heart of hearts that I will keep carrying on, now matter how much more is piled on. I will be who I am as I've always been. But tonight, the load feels like too much. 

Sunday, May 9, 2010

You little Skamp..

Before I get into anything else I want to give my deepest condolences to Fox. I know you're a strong girl and you will pull through, but if you need anything at all, Heather and I are both here for you, hun.
Now onto the newest of things. I've got myself a new project *rubs my hands together in mischevious fashion and laughs maniacally* We now have a pop up camper. But before we get too into the new, lets take a few steps back. As you all know Heather and I absolutely love to go camping. I used to go a dozen weekends out of the year atleast growing up and now we still go as often as we can. The problem is that it never fails to rain atleast one of our trips every year and being as hard as it is to actually get the time to go, we suffer through it. Most times its not too bad, except for the "thunder storm of doom" as Heather puts it the first summer we were together. That was, until last year.
Last June we went on our annual camping trip to Bar Harbor for her birthday and as we packed up Thursday night the weather forecast was for showers Friday night into Saturday morning. Eh that's no biggy, we can deal with a few showers over one night out of 3 days. We arrived at the campground at almost exactly noon Friday, at 12:15 it started to rain and it never stopped til 10 am Sunday. When I say rain, I'm not talking drizzle, or showers, I am talking full on, god taking the mother of all leaks type rain. For 3 days. We spent 3 days inside of the tent. We wound up eating every single meal at a restaurant cause we couldn't keep dry or have a fire.

We decided that very weekend, we needed to upgrade. We aren't willing to stay home so we decided we needed a camper. We didn't want a huge camper, we still want to be somewhat rustic. I don't like feeling like I'm living in another house when I'm in the middle of the woods. So we decided on finding a small pop up. We looked around for a few weeks and didn't really find anything we could afford. Then came my birthday party. My godparents showed up to celebrate with us. Our house was already full so they decided to bring their new camper they had found. It was 25th anniversary 1989 Skamper pop up. It was the perfect size for what Heather and I were looking for, very basic but in good shape. It was going to be ours. The problem was, no one else but me knew that (grin). I begged and pleaded with them to sell me the camper or better yet, just leave it there for me but to no avail. So the search went on.
The fall came and went and I still couldn't find anything else I liked and I wanted that damn Skamper. Then out of the blue in February Gene (godmother) called and asked if I wanted to buy it. I told her I most certainly did if the price was right. She said all she wanted was what she had invested in it, which is $500.00. I told her it was a deal but I didn't have the money right now cause I was getting ready to go out for my surgery. She told me not to worry about it, we'd work something out. So we have a plan.

Fast forward to now. The other day I was talking to my Darrel (godfather) and he told me to get my ass up there and get the damn thing out of the way (litteral words). No problem, So Friday I hit the road at 5:30am ready for my 3.5 drive north. I returned at 7:30pm with the camper and was totally thrilled with the way it towed, having absolutely no trouble on the 200 mile drive.
So as I said before this is a 1989 camper. It's not in perfect shape. For being 21 years old it is in very good shape. It is in need of a few minor repairs and a hellaciously good cleaning. I am going to post some before and after pics on this post of the first cleaning I gave it and I will do so later on of the other things I do to it. Its my hope to start blogging about all the trips we take from now on. I'm hoping we can expand our horizons a little further now that we have something a little more solid to sleep in. It's first real test will be the first weekend in June for the Fiber Frolic and then a couple weeks later for our annual trip to the Harbor. Here's the first set of pics...
Due to some technical malfunctions the pics aren't in perfect here is
After.... Before....

After.... Before....

After.... Before....

P.S. Tomorrow I am taking my nephew out to see Iron Man 2 after he gets out of school. Working on #53 of my list. Yeehaw

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Hard to take..

So here I am, up at 5 am writing on blog. I have had a pretty restless night and the dog finally decided seal the deal at 4:15 when he needed to go out.

What is there to keep me awake and write about at 5am? Well, yesterday afternoon I made my way to Millinocket to have my 2nd follow up appointment with my knee surgeon. On my way up which takes about half an hour through the woods, life was good. The sun was shining, there was no traffic (yes there can be traffic, even in the middle of the woods, this traffic just usually consist of 140,000lb log trucks). I even got to see my first moose of the spring, which his fresh new antlers poking through his forehead. Life seemed good for those 30 minutes. Then reality bitch slapped me.

My knee surgeon is the best. From the very first minute I met him I felt comfortable with him and for some reason at that same moment realized that I totally trusted this man. In all my appointments with him I have found that I really take what he says to heart and I believe what he tells me really is what is in my best interest. Maybe it's because he's british, I don't know.

Anyway, as the appointment went on and we discussed my aches and pains, he was going over his reports from physical therapy as I related my side of the story. What it boils down to is progress is not moving at the pace it needs too. My knee cap is not re-aligning the way he had hoped it would and my leg is only working at about 20% capacity. He is giving me 6 more weeks of physical therapy. This somewhat stole the wind out of me, kind of the whined up to the bitch slap coming. I was only supposed to be out 6 weeks to begin with after the surgery. Next Tuesday it will be 2 months. I have worked full time since I was 15, when I was 19 there was a little lull in there where I was laid off, but that was only for a couple weeks. I found under-the-table jobs that had me working more than a normal week.

So as I was running things through my head at the speed of a f'in bullet train, the next thing that comes out of his mouth is that if he doesn't see the progress he wants in 6 weeks, there is a better than fair chance he will want to take me back into surgery to do what he can to re-align everything his way. And KER-POW. It literally took me about 5 seconds to truly process what he had just said to me. He was seriously talking another surgery. A surgery that by my understanding is a bigger undertaking than the first one we went through.

I am honestly lost here. I am torn in ways that I really can't describe. There are going to be people here that say its a no brainer decision. But its not that simple. I have been out of work for 7 weeks, we're talking 13 by the time I even know if I need surgery and then could very well be another 12 weeks of recovery after that. My wife has been stellar through this whole process. She could of very well told me to go fuck myself several times but she has stood by me through everything. I don't know if I want to put her through this again.

The thing that scares me the most is my job. The Lumbras have treated me like family over the years. Whenever I have needed something they have been there for me. They really are the best people in the world to work for because they are the only place I have ever seen that truly, truly cares more about their employees than themselves. That being said, I can only expect them to put up with so much. They already had to hire someone to take a lower job so one of the more experienced guys could slide up and fill in for me. I am going in this morning to talk to the bosses and see what they have to say.

I need to get in contact with my short term disability provider cause I am not completely sure how long my benefits will last. I absolutely cannot and will not put all the financial burden on Heather. I guess that is what it really boils down to. If I lose my benefits, I'm going back to work.

My knee, I think, is better than it was before I went into surgery. It might have to be good enough. I said from the beginning that if I was going to go through this I was going to do it the right way, because there was no sense in doing it if I was going to half ass it. Now I'm scared I just might have to half ass it to survive and worry about fixing it the right way later on.

Friday, April 16, 2010


That's my wife's title. A title that means, artist, designer, creator, marketer, owner, shipper and everything else that can be described as a job in her small business. Last fall Heather took her dream of starting a yarn and fiber business and took off running. Of course she started small like most business have done and over the last few months it has expanded bit by bit. She has sold numerous products, been mentioned in podcasts that have 40,000 listeners and joined multiple communities to spread the word and the love of her business and the art that is involved.

I have never seen her so happy, so fulfilled, so content at doing something as she is when working on her products. I have to be the first to admit, although I care nothing about knitting or crocheting or such...what she does is beautiful and she has pride in that which she has created.

A short while ago we were sitting in the living room talking and she was saying that she wanted to take her business further and further. I told that I would support her in every way I can with this business. She wants to make a career out of Highland Handmades. I think it can be done. Although it may take a few years yet to sustain a lifestyle from this business I think it really does have the potential to happen.

She wasn't sure though, how to get her name out there more, how to make the business increase because although people have been buying some stuff, the online pictures don't do it justice. Several times when people have seen her products first hand they have bought them instantly. So I said the solution was simple. The Maine Fiber Frolic. She kind of wheeled back because the Fiber Frolic is a big deal. Dozens and Dozens of vendors get together to sell their yarn and fiber goods on the first weekend in June. Wait. The first weekend in June This is the first weekend in April. Shit, we're no where near ready. She only has about 2 dozen products done up to sell. We need about 12-14 dozen atleast. She doesn't even have enough raw product to do a quarter of that. So, I told her to make a decision. Yes or No. I said that I would do everything within my power to make it happen if she decided she really wanted to do it. Hesitantly she sat there and looked at me, I could see her mind running a million miles an hour. I think she thought I was toying with her. Finally after a while she said she wanted too. So we were off and running

I know what it takes to run a business. I grew up with my family running a store. I opened a diner with my mother when I was 15. I know it takes money to make money and the problem is, her business didn't have the capital to order the amount of raw material she needed for the festival. So the next day I sat down with a note book and our checking account and spent the day running numbers and the such. That night she had enough money for her wholesale account. The next day we went and got her the insurance she needed for the Frolic and sent in her fee and application to secure a spot at said show.

I think its has set in to both of us how much work is ahead of us to get this pulled together in a month and a half and we are both ready to go full steam ahead. So now she is awaiting her 44lbs of raw material and she will begin the dying and skeining process. I have my hands full with building her some displays to use. We will make this work, not because we have to..things more often than not DON'T work when you HAVE to. I know this will work because we WANT it too.

I want my wife to have the business she wants. I want her to have a career that makes her happy and gives her that feeling of completion that only this business gives her. She deserves that. She has worked so hard over the years that I know she has what it takes to make this work. She works two jobs as it is already and she still, still comes home at night and on her few days off and works her butt off to get this thing going. I am so proud of her. I am proud that she works so hard. That she takes chances on the unknown. That she puts so much love and passion into something. I am proud of the woman she has become because of this business. I hope she knows that. Every time she dyes something and she gets the finished product her eyes glow just a little bit and this radiant smile appears. That smile that shines of pride that you can see runs right straight into the core of her soul. If its possible that smile makes me love her even more, my wife, my fiberista.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

So I've joined the ranks

I know that there is a few of my friends out there that have had their gallbladders removed and I can now say I'm right there with ya, guys. I'm now one among the slightly gut-less brigade.

On Monday morning we arrived at the hospital on time and they took me right in and got things underway. First off, I have to say that I absolutely love this hospital. It is the hospital I was born in and have been going to my entire life. Through all my mother's illnesses they took exceptional care of her, always and every time going that extra mile to make her comfortable and happy. And they have always done the same for me. My wife, only having gone there with me and for a couple quick blood draws can attest to my accounts.

So getting back to the story they took me in, got me ready, gave me some drugs, gave me some more drugs and then took me into the O.R.. Within 2 minutes I was sound asleep and before I knew it I was waking up recovery. I woke up a little freaked because there was so much pressure and pain in my chest that I could just barely move my arms. The nurse took great care of me, explaining that it was the gas they had to pump into me to do the surgery and it travels up into the shoulders. They doped me up again, then again, then again and all was right with the world. I don't know what it was that they gave me, but two thumbs WAY up!!

After 45 minutes or so they wheeled me back to my room and let me veg for a while with my wife where I spent about an hour and a half with nurses, drs and even the anasthesologist (I know I spelled that wrong) coming in to check on me. I managed to get a coffee and a couple pieces of toast into me and after a bit longer and a couple vicodin later I felt comfortable enough to get up and move around some. They told me I could stay as long as I wanted to but at that point I just wanted to go home and so I proceeded to get dressed very slowly. Not long after I was out of the hospital and we went to a local restaurant to get a small bite to eat since Heather hadn't eaten all day and it was already 1:30pm.

We made it home and its been several days and most of the pain is gone and there has been no major incidents. The incision just below my belly button has given me a bit of trouble leaving a 3x6 inch red spot/bruise going towards my groin. We are keeping a close eye on it but I am fairly certain it is just a bruise that is healing. keep your fingers crossed.

I am hoping by Saturday I will be able to walk comfortably so I can finally get off my ass cause I gotta tell you, it's getting pretty old.

I have to give thanks to my wife for taking such good care of me. The last couple months have been hard. First knee surgery and know this this surgery. The recovery for the prior has been slow and painful but there is progress so I guess that is the whole point. I love her and I can't show her enough appreciation for everything she has done.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

oh my!! Could it really be 2 in a row?!?

As a matter of fact it can be. Apparently yesterdays little rant paid off in some small ways because the truck issue is righting itself in a little better means than I was hoping. What this post is about today is a list I have. I started making this list last year on the day after I fell and screwed up my knee. As I sat on the couch watching t.v. for 8 hours straight I realized that up until that point I had wasted a lot of my life. wasted a lot of potential. I don't have to do epic things in my life, but I have to do something. I've seen people waste their entire lives and then on their death bed say how much they regret not doing this or that. I already have my regrets to take to the grave. I don't want to add more. This list is something that I am working on over the next few years. You may have heard of something similar from other people such as the 101 in 1001. This isn't that extensive of a list and I am not setting an exact day to finish it on. This list isn't complete though. As time goes on, I will add to it, so as my fans, friends and family I encourage you to make suggestions for me. I will try to update on the list when I can. I have already managed to cross a few things off but there is still a long way to lets get started

1. compete in the maine highland games (this one is iffy)
2. Figure out knee issues (done!)
3. Get a tattoo
4. Buy a digital SLR Camera
5. Move out of Brownville
6. Read 3 pieces of classic literature (suggestions? Moby Dick is my only choice so far)
7. Meditate once a week (yes I know how to meditate)
8. Visit Nova Scotia for a long weekend
9. Reconnect with family (already a work in progress thanks to some help from my sisters)
10. Find a hobby (also done, I bought a four wheeler last fall and my wife has bought be wood carving tools)
11. Take the katahdin across moosehead lake (for you that doesn't know what this is :
12. Lose 50lbs (after the last month, better make that 65)
13. Learn to play guitar (I have a basic understanding, but a long way to go)
14. Take a scenic flight over Bar Harbor ( again :
15. Take a tropical vacation (any destination suggestions?)
16. Take a trip to D.C. (this could be a possibility for next year as a family trip?)
17. Write a story and publish it
18. Go skydiving
19. Enroll in college
20. Volunteer 120 hours
21. Donate food for 10 families on thanksgiving
22. Donate gifts for atleast 20 kids at christmas
23. Take a kid to the bookstore
24. Start to learn a new language (This is going to be hard because there is a few I want to learn. Japanese, Italian, Spanish, Gaelic)
25. Visit Maine Maritime Museum (
26. go camping for 30 nights (this doesn't mean consecutively)
27. Hike Gulf Hagas (google Gulf Hagas and check out the images...this is about 20 minutes from my home)
28. Learn to reload ammuntion (again, I know the basics and have done it with people before)
29. Get Lost
30. Go Parasailing
31. Marry Heather again
32. Help Heather finish getting her Masters degree
33. Get Organized (Ha!)
34. Put $3,000 into a savings account
35. Walk 10 miles at once
36. Collect all of Pat McManus books (He has a collection of about 15-20 books. Currently I have 7. He is a funny, witty outdoor humorist who wrote for magazines such as Outdoor Life and Field and Stream for 20 some odd years)
37. Clear all debts (this may take more than a couple years)
38. buy more woodworking tools
39. Shoot my .348 winchester rifle at 400 yards (my father in law and I have a long standing bet that I can't hit the broad side of a barn at 400 yards...I hate to take his money though)
40. Go whitewater rafting
41. Establish Highland Handmades w/ Heather (done)
42. Buy a piece of land (if I could just figure out where....)
43. Have a night out with Heather once a month (we have been doing pretty good with this one)
44. Go to the top of the Penobscot Observatory(
45. Put together my entire family history (lord help me)
46. Go to six flags
47. Collect new art/pictures for our home
48. create enough wood working to bring in a second income
49. Buy a new pistol (what can I and guns, we're tight)
50. Learn and practice 3 unconventional fire starting methods
51. Take the polar plunge again (
52. Teach Jackson to ride on the back of the four wheeler
53. Take my nephew out for a day

So this is the start of my list and the things are definitley not in any order. As I said before, if you have ANY suggestions, please, give them. I don't care what it is. I would love to do more for other people and encourage the ideas. But right now I think I am going to go work on number 36 and read some Pat. Have a good one guys!

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Just a bit overdue perhaps?

So before anyone tears me a new one...I know...I know. I haven't updated in months and I've left some of you hanging. Most of you have a pretty good idea of what is going on with me anyways so I haven't felt the overwhelming need to blog about it...the truth is though, I missed you guys...

So lets get down to the nitty gritty. Last fall I fell and truly screwed up my knee. I tore the miniscus in two places, tore some cartilidge in other places and set my kneecap over about an inch from where its supposed to be. A month and a half ago they operated on it. The operation was from my understanding a success although the dr has already said that I will need more work done in the future. I have been in physical therapy for the last 5 weeks with no definite end in sight. I am glad that I am finally getting this issue taken care of, but I don't know if I am getting the results I wanted. I have been laid up for a month and a half, not able to work and its driving me insane. I'm doing my best to try and hide it but my cover is wearing thin. What is making it worse is I don't know for sure when I will get to go back to work.

On Monday morning, April 5th they are going in to take out my gallbladder. This is both a good and bad thing. It's good because I am hoping it will alleviate some of my pain and sicky feeling. I am somewhat worried about this though because every test they have done has shown that the gallbladder is fine...but then again so is everything so why not just take it out anyways? This is also going to set back my P.T. schedule, further delaying my return to work.

What does all this spell. No Highland Games. If my knee was completely healed tomorrow I would still not be able to get into the physical condition I need to be to compete in August. This breaks my heart...what crushes my heart is the fact that from the sounds of my drs recomendations...I'll never compete. This isn't set it stone but it might be the wisest decision I can make.

To top all this off...I've gained 15lbs since I've been out of work...blaahhhhhhh
So that gets the health issues out of the way..

We've been having vehicle issue upon vehicle issue lately and its starting to get tiresome. It seems we can't keep a vehicle on the road for more than a few weeks without something going to hell. This week the truck needs a new headgasket which will probably cost us $400-500 and thats just after dumping 300 into our car 2 weeks ago.

As much as I have just whined about getting back to work...part of me doesn't want to go back to my job. I want to work...I just don't know if I want to work at the mill. Things have changed there. Relationships with coworkers have changed and I rapidly feel like the time for me to move on is coming closer and closer. The problem is that there is no other work around here that even remotely comes close to what I am making right now and we just simply can't afford to take that kind of cut right now.

I am making good progress on my pre-req's for school since I've been off which is really good because I went through a couple month lull where I was only doing a couple lessons a week just to get by. I do think I am changing my course in academics though. My previous interest was going to involve way to much desk and office work and I just can't do that. I've had a full time job for the last 13 years and I've never sat behind a desk. I can't start doing it now. I think I am leaning towards becoming a home and building inspector. I'm currently waiting for some information to come to me in the mail..I'll just have to take it from there.

Well it's almost time to go pick up my wife from work so for now I'll sign off saying that without you guys, I wouldn't be in as good as shape as I am and I need to thank you guys for everything you do, physically and emotionally. Its my goal to try to start updating once a week but I make no promises. love ya guys