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 go...so 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 : http://www.katahdincruises.com/)
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 : http://www.scenicflightsofacadia.com/
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 (http://www.mainemaritimemuseum.org/)
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(www.maine.gov/doc/parks/parksinfo/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 say..me and guns, we're tight)
50. Learn and practice 3 unconventional fire starting methods
51. Take the polar plunge again (www.freezinforareason.com)
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!