The negligent blogger part 3 (finale)

Ok, this is the finally installment in my attempt to catch you all up.

This one will have some good, some bad, and some small details.

First, the good…

Maria has enrolled in an online grad school to obtain her master’s degree. I’m very proud of her and thoroughly impressed. She has a ton of work to do, and I will do everything I can to support this endeavor. She is now enrolled through Ball State University. As a cardinal, she will fly!

And then there is the bad. It isn’t terrible, but worrisome still.

At my “real” job I wear a bullet proof best for 12 or more hours a day, in all types of weather. Throughout the year the temperature can go from 15 degrees to 100 degrees. Well, I had a spot on my shoulder blade that became irritated, eventually became an open sore and refused to heal. I attributed this to the sweat and friction caused by the vest. This went on for almost a year. Maria helped me cover it before work and tried to doctor it for me without success.

Now, I’m 47 years old and at that time I had no regular doctor. If slightly sick I went to the local urgent care, and if I really jacked myself up (which I’m known to do occasionally,lol) I would go to the emergency room.

During my last visit to the urgent care for a pretty hefty fever, I was ganged up on by that doctor and Maria to politely, yet forcefully inform me that at my age I NEED a general practitioner. Maria then got me set up with a doctor and I went, reluctantly.

She examined that spot and said that she wasn’t 100% sure without a biopsy, but it was believed to be skin cancer. She then referred me to a dermatologist.

After being examine there, it was determined that I had several areas that had Basal cell carcinoma. There were varying degrees of development in these areas.

I had a few frozen off, about twice that burned off, and then scheduled for 4 separate surgeries space 2 weeks between each one. It seems I had 4 separate areas where the carcinoma was too big and too deep to freeze or burn. They had to be cut out.

I’ve spent the last 2 months off of work, unable to do anything in the forge or go to the farm, or much of anything. I’ve become a beard farmer. I’ve had to shave nearly everyday for work for the last 30 years, a good two month break from shaving was very welcome.

I currently have all the surgeries complete and am currently cancer free. It hasn’t been fun, but it also wasn’t terrible. If you don’t know, basal cell is the most common form of skin cancer and has a very low risk of spreading to other organs. I don’t believe I was at risk of dying from it, but it is very disconcerting to hear the words “you have cancer”.

Those are the two big things…good and bad.

Some little details…

I have the new hydraulic lines for the backhoe as soon as I can get to the farm, I’ve got some great steel lined up for knives as soon as I can get back in the forge. I did have the chance to finish up a great knife for the up coming Fraternal Order of Police state conference. I finished the knife and base just as I started the cancer hiatus.

I did initially mess up the dates and had to sand and reengrave the display stand. But I think it came out well.

Thank you all for reading, I hope this brings most up to speed. I have a about a week and a half left to heal up and then I’m back to work. There should be plenty to document then and I hope to keep up with our blog as I really do enjoy it.

All the best to you, and thanks again for reading,

Toots and Pappy

The negligent blogger part 2

Ok, so now on to the next installment.

In addition to, and coinciding with the truck adventure I found out some super crazy, surprising, strange, wonderful, fantastic news.

Up until a few months ago things were going as I thought had for a long time. I had a beautiful wife, a wonderful adult daughter, a good job, a nice piece of land to build our homestead, and some good retirement plans.

And then….

A few years ago we had taken the 23andme dna test to add ours to the database. My mom has been working on our family tree for a very long time. Well, as a result of that, I ended up receiving an email from someone saying that they were a 49% match with me and a 23% match with my daughter. This would indicate a child to me and a sibling to my daughter.

I made contact with that person and some questions were asked and answered by us both and come to find out…..wait for it….

I NOW HAVE 2 DAUGHTERS that are all grown up!!!!!

BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE…..

I also now have a GRAND-DAUGHTER!!!!!!!!

This is huge news and created a whirlwind of emotions. Freaked me out, made me smile, made me cry, made me laugh…

I won’t go into a bunch of detail, just for some family privacy, but, due to life and circumstances 25 years ago, we were separated before either of us knew the other existed.

But now we have found each other, and both girls now have a sister that they never had. They have hit it of wonderfully and talk all the time.

We’ve been sharing back and forth for months now. Mainly text messages and video chats because she is currently in England with her husband who is in the Air Force. We have yet to meet in person, but soon.

So, we have welcomed Kate, little Hannah, and Dylan (the new son in law) to the family!!!

So now, instead of Rowan being an only child, now there is Rowan, Kate, Hannah, and Dylan. Its almost like the Brady bunch, but cooler.

I’m very proud of all my kids. Rowan is a super smart, and witty, person who prefers non binary pronouns such as “they” and “them”. I don’t fully understand this movement, but I’m doing what I can to be supportive.

Kate spent some time in the Air Force herself before getting out at the end of her enlistment. She is wonderful, smart, and witty, and a good mom.

Dylan is Kate’s husband who is still active duty Air Force. He seems like a good man, a good husband, and a good father. I’m glad that he and Kate found each other.

And then there is Hannah…..that little bugger is absolutely gorgeous. I enjoy talking to her by video chat. Watching her play, and to have her say goodbye and blow kisses just melts my heart. I never really thought about being a grandpa, but you know what? Its really FREAKING COOL!!!

As the conversations have built, Maria and I were informed that we needed to choose grandparent nicknames. That really threw me off. Most people get 9 months to figure that out. We had about 2 weeks, lol.

After some thoughts, we came up with Toots and Pappy. And you know something….I really like the thought of being called Pappy.

So, that’s big news for part 2 of the catch up. Like I said, its been a crazy year. A lot of hard work, a lot of joy, a lot of tears….but really cool.

Stick around for part 3 coming soon…hard to believe but there IS more…lol

All the best,

Toots and Pappy

The negligent blogger, part 1

Hey all. I know that its been a long, long, long time since I’ve written. For that negligence I am very sorry. However, there has been so much going on that it was all just a bit overwhelming. I will try to catch everyone up as best I can. I will also break this down into parts because its been alot.

The first big doings was the unofficial formation of a Motor Transport unit where I work. Before hurricane Florence there was a need for rescue equipment in this county. But, government being what it is the proactive planning was ignored by those in power that had been given by the in house experts, and the dice were continued to be rolled. Well, with Florence our luck with those dice ran out. Tons of storm damage and horrific flooding caused the powers that be to finally understand what had been said. Of course, it was much too late to do anything for that storm. But now we can prepare.

I was brought onboard to help with the work on some surplus military vehicles that are designed for deep water fording.

Prior to this project, any new equipment purchased by the county was then contracted out to be out fitted, painted, wired for emergency lights, etc. This was a cost effective way to do things 10 years ago, but the county has been growing by leaps and bounds since and we are losing entirely too much money on outfitting and maintenance.

Because I was a Motor Transport mechanic in the U.S. Marine Corps (3521 mos) it was my bread and butter for years. So, in addition to working my normal 40 hours a week, I worked nearly another 40 hours a week for 8 months to restore, paint, wire, and prepare 3 trucks for use.

This is how they started out for us.

2 M923 5 ton trucks with 78 inches of fording capability, and

1 MRAP (Mine Resistant, Ambush Protective) vehicle with 36 to 48 inches of fording capability, and being armor plated its great for flying debris.

I put in a ton of work, but doing so we were able save the county approximately $25,000 to $35,000. And hopefully show the bean counters and the politicians that if they follow my recommendations they can start to build the savings into the hundreds of thousands per year. Anyway, off my soap box.

This is more of how they look now. Painted, striped, outfitted, and ready for action.

We then began some cross training with the fire department and a neighboring county. Each of those agencies also had a couple of surplus vehicles. We gathered them before the battleship museum for a photo before we put them through their paces.

So, this is the first installment to get you caught up with us.

There is much more to tell from this past year..be sure to come back for part 2..

All the best,

Chad and Maria